You may have seen a massive bison bull lumbering across the plains in National Geographic specials or any number of nature documentaries. But learning a few interesting facts about these gentle giants might make your appreciation for them even greater.
Here are some facts about the Wood Bison that you probably never knew
1. Wood Bison Are The Largest Native Terrestrial Land Mammal In North America
If you’re a land mammal enthusiast, life on Earth is about to be very exciting for you. Wood bison are the largest native terrestrial land mammal in North America and the largest land mammal in Canada—and they’re also among the most impressive animals that roam our planet.
Wood bison can weigh over 1,800 pounds (820 kilograms) and stand at 6 feet tall (1.8 meters). Their large bodies make them an excellent contender for the “king” of all North American land mammals. Since wood bison are so big, they require large spaces to live in—but there’s no need to worry because they’re not endangered or threatened!
2. They Are Surprisingly Fast
Wood bison are very fast animals. They can run up to speeds of 40 mph for one mile, and they can jump a distance of 6 feet in the air.
They can run for long distances without stopping, and they have been recorded running at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour for short intervals! This is an amazing feat considering their size! They also love jumping over small trees!
3. A Wood Bison Can Live For 10-15 years
Wood bison can live for 10-15 years. That’s right—wood bison are a long-living animal. In the wild, they usually don’t live beyond 15 years; however, some have been known to live up to 20 years old! In captivity, they may make it past 20 years old and beyond.
In general, wild animals that live in harsh environments tend to exhibit shorter lifespans than their domestic counterparts because of the challenges they face in nature. Wildlife biologists believe that this is true for wood bison as well: since these large animals need so much food each day and must endure extremely cold temperatures (even in summer!), their life expectancy tends toward the lower end of the spectrum compared with some other species like cattle or chickens which don’t face those same challenges every day or year-round!
4. Bison Can Communicate Using Their Tails
Bison are very vocal animals, just like the songbird species and non-human mammals like Dolphins and whales e.t.c. They communicate with each other using a variety of sounds, including grunts and snorts. However, the most intriguing method of bison communication is their use of their tails.
A Bison can use its tails to communicate with another bison, as well as to communicate with predators and humans. The direction that they swish their tails indicates what kind of mood they’re in—if they are agitated or nervous, they will swing their tail from side to side; if they are happy or relaxed (or in some cases upset), then they will swing their tail up and down at an angle.
5. Bison Herds Sustained Native Americans Living on the Great Plains.
At one point in human history, these large mammals provided food, clothing, and shelter for Native Americans living on the Great Plains. The bison provided more than just sustenance—they also played a central role in cultural life.
Bison were important in spiritual ceremonies and religious rituals among many tribes of Native Americans. When hunting bison, Native Americans would pray to their gods for success in finding a game, as well as good weather conditions for hunting. They also offered prayers of thanksgiving after successful hunts or when they had been given an abundance of meat by their hosts.
Wood Bison Are Amazing Animals!
Next time you’re in the outdoors on a hike, keep your eyes out for these majestic creatures. You never know when you might see one!