Discover quirky facts about buffalo to share with friends!


Do you know?

  • The American Buffalo is really a bison. In fact it’s scientific name is Bison bison bison That’s genus: Bison, species: bison, subspecies: bison. But you can call it bison for short. This name keeps it from being confused with the water buffalo of Asia.
  • Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continually since prehistoric times.
  • Bison can run up to 30 to 40 miles per hour.
  • Male bison can weigh up to 2000 pounds, and that’s a ton. Females weigh up to 1000 pounds.
  • Bison are vegetarians. They can eat up to 60 pounds of grass a day!
  • Bison calves are born with reddish hair. After about three months their hair turns brown like the adult bison. Calves care called "red dogs" by some people. That's a nickname because they really aren't dogs.
  • Bison were nearly extinct by 1900. They were overhunted by settlers and those working on a cross country railroad. Native Americans and the U.S. Army protected the remaining bison. Today about 200,000 animals live on preserves and ranches. Some groups still consider the bison "near extinct".
  • Bison are the largest land mammal in North America. They’re bigger than elk, moose, and grizzly bears. Males are about six feet high at the hump, while females are about five feet at the hump.
  • Bison have horns, not antlers. Their horns are black, very sharp, and up to two feet long. Bison never shed or lose their horns. Bison grow horns in their second year of life.
  • Bison live to be about 20 years old in the wild. An exceptionally hardy animal can live up to 40 years. These lifespans are in terms of human years.
  • Bison have hair so thick snow doesn’t melt when it falls on a bison. That’s why bison can withstand freezing temperatures in the wild.
  • May 9, 2016 President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, making the American bison the national mammal of the United States. Now, it is a symbol of America just as the Bald Eagle is.


More fun facts!

One more fun-to-know fact is that baseball, football, hockey, and soccer teams all are named for buffalo or bison.  Buffalo Bison play baseball in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo Bills play football near Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo Sabres play hockey in Buffalo, New York. F.C. Buffalo play soccer in Buffalo, New York. Seems “buffalo” is pretty popular with sports teams. Maybe that’s because bison are known for their aggressive nature, large size, strength, and speed.
Check back here for more facts and trivia related to GRANDMA BUFFALO, MAY AND ME. New information will be available on the first Monday of each month.


Carol Curtis Stilz