Common Name: American Bison
Natural habitat: Open plains of U.S. and Canada originally. Now found only in parks and reserves
Natural foods: Grasses
Life expectancy: 18 – 22 years in the wild, 35 – 40 years in captivity
Other comments: Graze mostly in the morning and evening. Grooming is an important daily activity. Scrub heads, necks, and sides on trees, branches and tree trunks. Like to wallow in dust or mud. Grunt while on the move; make roaring sound when mating. Curiosity highly developed. Highly developed sense of smell. Good hearing. Will charge when cornered. Bulls can run up to 30 m.p.h. Herd size varies from a family unit to thousands for migration; cow is leader. Fights for rank in the herd often end with serious injuries or death. Mate in August and September. Gestation period is 270-285 days. Single reddish-coloured calf is born in May or June. Females calve alone; rejoin herd when calf can stand after 3 or 4 days. Develops characteristic hump at two months. Nurses for one year; mature at three years.