North American Bison

Overview

At Woburn Safari Park there is a large herd of North American bison. They can be seen in their large 16 acre paddock on your drive through to the ticket lane before your entry to the Safari Park. Woburn have kept Bison for over a hundred years!

 

All about us

Distribution: US National parks/reserves
Habitat: Grassland and meadow
Height: Up to 195 cm at the shoulder
Weight: 545 to 818 kg
Gestation Period: 9 - 10 months
Lifespan: 25 years
Threats: Overhunting in the 19th century resulted in near extinction

About us

Scientific name: B. bison

Adult females live with their young in herds of around 60 individuals which are led by a dominant female. North American bison are primarily grazers and they will forage primarily on open grassland. Grasses and sedges form the mainstay of their annual diet however they will also eat flowering plants, woody plant leaves and lichens depending on the availability.

They have a long shaggy dark brown coat on their shoulders, neck and front legs. The hair on the remainder of their body is considerably shorter and lighter. Calves are born a light reddish brown colour but this will generally darken by six months of age.

North American Bison Facts

Their foreheads are broad with short up curving horns which are present in both sexes.
Bison are surprisingly agile, they are able to run at speeds of up to 30 mph.
On the thick shaggy coat of a Bison an individual hair can be up to 50 cm long!
Grooming is a very frequent activity among Bison. They will rub themselves on trees until all of the bark has been torn off and the trunk left smooth. Here at Woburn we provide our herd of Bison with big tree logs to allow them to have a good scratch and remove any loose, dead hair.
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