Bison thinks he is a giant puppy, tries to jump on a trampoline




Bison temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. They can move at speeds up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop.

The American bison was named the national mammal of the United States on May 9, 2016. This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country—and much like the eagle, they’re a symbol of our American identity and one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.

In prehistoric times, millions of bison roamed North America—from the forests of Alaska and the grasslands of Mexico to Nevada’s Great Basin and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. Their history has been inextricably intertwined with many Indigenous communities. But by the late 1800s, there were only a few hundred bison left in the United States after European settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to near extinction. Had it not been for a few private individuals working with Tribes, states and the Department of the Interior, the bison would be extinct today. 

Bison are the largest mammal in North America. Male bison (called bulls) weigh up to 2,000 pounds and stand 6 feet tall, while females (called cows) weigh up to 1,000 pounds and reach a height of 4-5 feet. Bison calves weigh 30-70 pounds at birth.

What’s the difference between bison and buffalo? While bison and buffalo are used interchangeably, in North America the scientific name is bison. Actually, it’s Bison bison bison (genus: Bison, species: bison, subspecies: bison or athabascae), but only saying it once is fine. Historians believe the term “buffalo” grew from the French word for beef, “boeuf.”

Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have continuously lived since prehistoric times. What makes Yellowstone’s bison so special is that they’re the descendants of early bison that roamed our country’s grasslands. In 2021, Yellowstone’s bison population was estimated at 5,450—making it the largest bison population on public lands. This population is allowed to roam relatively freely over the expansive landscape of Yellowstone National Park and some nearby areas of Montana.


You can judge a bison’s mood by its tail.  When it hangs down and switches naturally, the bison is usually calm. If the tail is standing straight up, watch out! It may be ready to charge. No matter what a bison’s tail is doing, remember that they are unpredictable and can charge at any moment. Every year, there are regrettable accidents caused by people getting too close to these massive animals. It’s great to love the bison but love them from a distance.

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