The American bison (Bison bison) and the European wisent are the largest terrestrial animals in North America and Europe.
The American bison, also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America.
They are nomadic grazers and their daily schedule involves two-hour periods of grazing, resting and cud chewing, then moving to a new location to graze again.
Bisons travel in herds, except for the non-dominant bulls, which travel alone or in small groups during most of the year.
A bison has a shaggy, long, dark brown winter coat and a lighter weight, lighter brown summer coat. As is typical in ungulates, the male bison are slightly larger than the female. Bison bulls can reach up 2 m tall, 4 m long and weigh up to 1.000 kg.
The heads and forequarters are massive and both sexes have short, curved horns that can grow up to 61 cm long, which they use in fighting for status within the herd and for defense.
Bison mate in August and September and gestation is 285 days. A single reddish-brown calf nurses until the next calf is born. If the cow is not pregnant, a calf will nurse for 18 months. Bison cows are mature enough to produce a calf at 3 years of age. Bison have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.
Photographer © Karin Van Couwenberg