The American Bison (Bison bison) is an ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the bovine (cattle) family. It is a bisonid. It is also an artiodactyl because its hooves are cloven (split).
The American Bison has a stocky body with a massive head. It has a shaggy dark-brown coat of fur. Both the male and female have horns. The horns are curved and sharp.
It grows to 280-335 centimetres (110-132 inches) in length and about 152-186 centimetres (60-73 inches) tall. Its tail measures 30-43 centimetres (12-17 inches) long. The horns measure about 63 centimetres (24 inches) long. It is the heaviest land animal in North America. It is also the second tallest animal in North America, after the moose.
The American Bison is native to the United States of America and Canada. It prefers open grasslands. It is migratory, travelling to warmer locations in summer.
It is an herbivore because it eats grass. It is a nomadic ruminant grazer. Like other cattle, it chews its cud. In times of snow and ice, it forages for moss and lichens.
It is a good swimmer and runner. It can run at speeds of 56-64 kilometres per hour (35-40 miles per hour).
It lives in herds of 30-50 individuals. The herds are all male groups or all female groups. The male is called a bull and the female is called a cow. They join to form a larger herd in the mating season.
The female ispregnant for about 285 days, before giving birth to one live young, called a calf. The calf has reddish-brown fur.
[Location of photographs: Berlin Zoo, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM