Bison (lat. Bison Bison) – One of the most massive terrestrial animals in the world belongs to the detachment of whalers, the genus of the bison, the family of sex. In addition to the size, they are known for their transcendental physical power, a huge amount of wool, a peculiar structure of the body and antiquity, because their remains are found along with the remains of mammoths that have died out many thousands of years ago, which indicates a centuriesold bison.
Types of bison
This kind is not distinguished by some large number of different types and subspecies, but has a lot of similarities, both internal, by the type of body structure and external, with its nearest relatives – bison.
There are only two subspecies in the classification:
Forest Bison (lat. Bison Bison Athabascae)
It has a relatively small head, there is a small bang of dark color on the forehead, above which powerful horns protrude. It has a beard rare in its structure, a small mane on the throat, as well as the dark color of the wool. The highest part of the hump is located on top of the front legs, exceeds its steppe counterpart in size.
Steppe bison (lat. Bison Bison Bison)
The head of this animal is noticeably larger than that of a forest subspecies, instead of a bang on the forehead there is a dense woolen hat, between which horns grow. The beard is quite thick, the mane on the throat is clearly expressed, has a lighter color. The dimensions are much smaller than that of another copy.
How it looks
In their size, large individuals of bison are significantly superior to their closest relatives, bison, with whom they are often confused. This confusion occurs mainly due to the size, a large amount of fur, the structure of the skeleton and the fact that before the bison and bison were practically no different, belonging to the same species, but during evolution they had to divide and become incredibly similar, but still different families.
Thanks to their mass, they are considered the largest pairedcaps throughout the planet. Their weight reaches one and a half tons, the height at the withers about two meters, the body length is on average 2.5-3 meters. Females, in turn, are less, often their weight does not exceed 600-800 kg, but there may be exceptions. The color and proportions of these animals are very similar to the bison, which is why it will be problematic to distinguish by external signs, and in some cases it is simply impossible. The main feature of the bison is a high withers, which forms a clear and steep hump in the shoulders, as well as a head down with a wide forehead, on which very strong, but short horns with ends wrapped down are located. In addition, the hairline of this species can also be considered a feature, because on the front of the hair there is always more, thereby the body of the beast from the side seems even more massive and frightening, approaching the hind limbs, the amount of fur is proportionally reduced to save the animal from excess weight, and also let him endure hot weather. The longest sections of wool are located on the bottom of the neck, chin, forming a rather large beard, as well as on the shoulders. The color can vary from brown to almost completely black. In some places on the body, the shade is lighter, usually they are shoulders, as well as the tail. The color on the wool of calves can be even yellow, over time, burning and becoming darker. In isolated cases, you can detect bison albinos, with almost completely white color.
In the summer season, the animal begins a period of abundant molting, and the wool from the skin is separated by clots of different sizes. During the cold, their hairline is again compacted, due to which the bison can experience the most severe frosts. The strongest parts of the body, without a doubt, are their huge head, thanks to which they are able to ram any predator and kill him with only one attack, massive shoulders, frightening others with only their appearance, a back that has to restrain the whole weight of a giant beast, and There are also hooves that are not distinguished by sizes, but possessing destructive power, with the ease of crumbling skull boxes to enemies.
The length of the horns on average reaches 50-60 cm, but due to the form diverging towards the form they seem small in size. The length of the tail varies and usually does not exceed 40 centimeters, but there may be exceptions.
How much bison live
Due to the almost complete absence of enemies, in the wild, the bison can live up to thirty years, and in captivity and up to 35, which actually occurs often.
Where it lives
The main habitat can be called North America: there are many individuals from the south of Canada to the most central states of the United States. Forest bison most often live in the northern part in deep forests to avoid the attack of predators, as well as hide in the shadow of trees from the heat. Plain, or steppe, as they are mainly called, are found in the open areas of the south, can occasionally be at the beginning of the sparse forests, mainly hiding there from not the best weather conditions and trying to find food that has the ability to end. In past centuries, both species wandered from south to north, depending on the season. During rains, wind or snow, they tried to live on the plains, because it was just to find food there. When the drought began, the bison was again migrated into the forests to compensate for the lack of moisture, eating the foliage of trees. At the moment, there are many reserves and national parks that artificially limit the territory for life so that the animals do not die due to bad weather or poachers.
The food of the bison is entirely dependent on weather conditions, as well as the area in which they live. If the climate is normal, then on the plains they like to eat herbaceous vegetation, but if the weather begins to deteriorate, they can begin to consume wild fruits that they will find, sometimes there is land to make up for the supply of minerals, or migrate to another territory.
Without any problems, this beast eats moss, lichens, fern and foliage of trees along with branches. In winter, they can eat vegetation, which is located even under the meter layer of snow.
Due to physical power and external massiveness, these animals are almost completely absent enemies. In extremely rare cases, wild wolves attack the forest subspecies. In case of approaching predators, males cover the herd from the back while females take young animals away. The largest alpha remains to fight, the smaller ones try to support them from the side, but do not fit until the adults give a signal. If the situation is completely deplorable and there are too many enemies, but there is a reservoir nearby, the bison enters the water to save their lives.
Features of character
In essence, they are herd animals, in many ways similar to bison. Когда период размножения ещё не наступил, самки и самцы стараются держаться порознь, чтобы лучше себя прокормить и не заботиться о других. Representatives of the stronger sex are mainly grazed singlely or in bachelor detachments, in which there are usually no more than fifteen individuals. Females with calves form separate groups of 25-30 animals in each, thereby they have more opportunities to feed their offspring, because they eat much less males.
In general, the bison does not stand out by aggression and very balanced animals themselves, if possible, avoid any conflicts, even with predators, preferring to run away than to join the battle. But in some situations, when the situation is completely restless, these animals begin to panic and they become very dangerous even for their relatives. Despite the enormous size and mass, they can easily develop speed up to 50-60 kilometers per hour, which is not inferior even to horses. In ordinary times, low moo is used to communicate, but during running can exchange short, slurred sounds that resemble grunting mixed with snoring.
Young animals are very playful and frisky, which is why it often arranges among themselves brawls, which older individuals try to suppress with all their might.
During the breeding period or during migration, they combine into huge herds, the number of animals in which often reaches several tens of thousands of individuals. The main thing is mainly the wise and senior male, who can lose in strength to others, younger and more massive, but thanks to the experience experienced without any problems, he puts rebels in place. If there are too many heads in the herd, several males can be considered as leaders, some of which will become managers of the most combat and strong groups who will be responsible for protection from predators, and others will – fair coordinators who have long studied the entire territory in the district and know where it is better and most food, how to run away from enemies faster, and also take care of each other.
The key reason due to which these massive animals can begin their migration is the lack of food. Weather conditions contribute to this, but are not the main ones, because the thick layers of fat and the abundance of fur allows the bison to experience any climatic changes without any problems, but it is the climate that affects the rapid disappearance of food products, which means that it is because of it that the animals have to change their habitat.
The reproduction season does not change and always passes from May to September, in rare situations, when animals are often forced to wander from place to place, can move for one to two months. During this period, single groups unite and form huge clusters, males begin to look for a female for themselves, and the most dominant of them is not embarrassed to collect a whole harem near themselves. Although these animals do not particularly like conflicts among themselves, during reproduction they arrange very cruel battles for the female. Bulls come to each other, after which they are in contact with their noses, which show their readiness to battle. They begin to butt, resting their foreheads. From the side, it may take shape that because of its dimensions, the battle does not look very dynamic, and the animals themselves are too slow for inflicting heavy wounds, but in fact it is not entirely like that. If one of the rivals moved away or even fell, the enemy strikes him with a stupid and heavy blow to his forehead, thereby injuring heavily. Sometimes some individuals die from such contractions, but this does not happen too often, because for such a herd leader can start a showdown, during which the killer can even exclude from the group, as a result of which he will have to wander alone.
The period of pregnancy does not differ from human and lasts 9 months. Shortly before childbirth, like most other articulated people, the female leaves the herd and looks for a secluded place in which he will give birth. In rare cases, when there is no normal place or childbirth nearby, the female has to give birth to everyone, in this case all relatives are interested in an interest in the newborn baby and begin to lick him with their rough tongues from head to toe. Usually only one calf is born, but in rare cases even twins can be born. The first couple of weeks, the cub eats mother’s milk, and an hour after birth, he begins to take his first steps. The weight of the cub, when appearing, varies from twentyfive to forty kilograms.
Males are polygamous, which is why they do not adhere to one female, but even vice versa, try to find several individuals for intercourse, collecting a full-fledged harem around themselves.
The puberty in the cubs of bison occurs by three years, representatives of the female are developing identically to the male, unlike many other families.
Population and status of the species
The animal of this species is actually millions of years, they hunted the indigenous inhabitants of North America during the Stone Age. Drawings on the walls on which bison were depicted, they have long been found and, by ancient times, they are no different from the drawings of mammoths. When the Indians hunted animals, they did not particularly affect the number, because they were not able to massively destroy such a huge look, and there was enough meat from one killed animal for several months. Thanks to a large amount of fur, the skin of the bison was an excellent material for making clothes, as well as jewelry that could afford only the richest, skillful or famous people.
The arrival of European colonialists threatened the number of all existing wild animals on the American continent, so the bison was no exception. White settlers were interested in spectacles that they never saw – herds of huge animals in which there were several thousand individuals. Armed with firearms, the colonialists began a massive extermination of animals for their own fun, the benefits and food were just a secondary task. Bison hunting passed for a long time, and reached its peak during the war of the colonialists against the Indians. To deprive the real population of the mainland, people began to kill animals without exception, leaving their corpses to rot. Since there was no time to drag away and cut the carcass, they usually cut out the tongue of animals to somehow save themselves from hunger, but the Europeans quickly revealed their method of action, after which they began to cut off the animal they killed, thereby completely depriving the indigenous population of at least some provisions. Also, gaining the entertainment of the hunters who arrived in America was shooting from the windows of the train, the purpose of which was to get into as many animals as possible. During such fun, no one even cared about the calculation of the victims they had killed, which is why hundreds and thousands of bodies were lying under the open sun and rot, scaring other animals from this territory. To represent the scale, before the appearance of Europeans on the American continent, the approximate number of bison was in the area of several dozen, there may be even hundreds of millions, but in 1889 they became at risk of extinction, and less than a thousand remained copies. On the territory there were huge mountains of skulls, extending to the horizon, at which people rose with a pleased face, and after all the bones were allowed to produce fertilizers. This mass destruction led to the extinction of many Indian tribes, and also completely poisoned the entire surrounding area, which at least a little was able to be cleansed only by the twentieth century, and before that it was only an endless wasteland without a hint of life.
On the verge of extinction, the animals were at the time of the founding of national parks, one of which was a park with the name Yellouston. It was in it that one of the largest remaining herds found his refuge, in which there were even less than two hundred individuals. Only thanks to this park, as well as several dozens of animals that have managed to escape from human atrocities, at the moment, the number of bison managed to increase to thirty thousand. Now the state of the species is generally regarded as rather prosperous, but no one plans to remove animals from the red book yet, because poachers exist to this day, though instead of fun they are like a desire to get bait with luxurious wool of bison. In addition, about five hundred thousand unclean individuals are contained on special ranch, arrange races and small competitions with them, in which serious injuries are immediately suppressed. Although the species is listed in the Red Book, it is not considered dying and is used for the production of meat products, like any other cattle. Also, these gigantic artisans can be found quite often in zoos, and sometimes even in circuses, because they tolerate a welltocapacity.
- A hump is considered a valuable trophy and material for many hunters, in which there is a huge amount of fat, as well as a bison, a language that is famous for its taste and has special value among poachers. The Indians often dried meat from the animals they killed for the winter in order to be able to feed themselves during a severe cold, and mixing protein with a plentiful mixture of fat, which they kept in solid boxes, it turned out to be a very nutritious and warming dish. If it was made of bison meat, then it was called a pemmikan. Such a provisions often acted in a ration during hunting expeditions, and later, when other people arrived on the mainland, polar researchers also used this recipe, since it gave a charge of energy a charge of energy for the whole day. From the bones of these massive animals, the Indians often made dishes, other household items, as well as weapons, for example, knives. The tendons served as a material that replaced the threads and was a good bowstring for onions, the hair was so strong that it was possible to knit fullfledged ropes that withstand huge weights. The litter was a fuel that was burned at the stake and warmed up, hooves were grinded, boiled and used as a certain adhesive substance, and the skin was made for tents, clothes and belts from the skins.
- A huge number of bones and skeletons of bison were found by scientists underground, on which there used to be small, but rather deep reservoirs, usually reaching five meters down. As it turned out in the future, during frequent migration, especially during strong colds, animals fell under the ice, trying to cross the reservoir to find a new place for the pasture. It was because of the weight, as well as the number of herds, the number of drowning people could reach several tens, and sometimes even hundreds of individuals that were not able to swim because of, in fact, the inability to swim. They simply never had to do this, which means evolution and did not teach them this skill. Only after a lot of time these animals had a good ability to swim, and they also increased their height and length of the jump, thanks to which a small river is able to jump over.
- In fact, the most ancient remains of the bison were found not in America. According to the conclusions of archaeologists, zoologists, geneticists and other scientists, the very first individuals lived in South Asia, but after changing the climate, which began to become more hot due to increased earthquakes and eruptions of volcanoes, animals were forced to massively and urgently migrate. In the era of Pliocene, which was around 400,000 years ago, there was an ancient land bridge connecting Southern Asia with America, it was bison, huge bulls and bison began to wander and quickly move to the American continent. The prehistoric bison, by the way, was much larger than the modern representative of the species, his horns in size could reach three meters from the tip to the tip, which is six times higher than the sizes of the horns of the current animals.
- In addition to bison, which are considered the closest of possible relatives, the bison has other almost indistinguishable brothers – buffalo. All three species have developed the muscles of the front extremities stronger than the rear, all of them are covered with a massive layer of fur and belong to the family of sex. Distinctive features are only horns that vary in their form, as well as sizes, depending on the type. For example, in the steppe bison, the horns are short and twisted, the bison has long and straight, and the buffalo has something in the middle between them. Thanks to this, a knowledgeable person without problems distinguishes animals from each other, but an ordinary traveler who was not particularly deepened into geography is unlikely to be determined exactly which of the three types of him is now located.
- Bisons very rarely open their mouth and mainly communicate with each other with grunt. Males can also demonstrate their physical superiority using this method. They begin to slowly back back, hoarsely mumble and lower their head down, after which they dig the ground with their forehead. By this gesture, the bull shows that he is interested in the female, and also marks the territory with the smell of his sweat, which often flows around the animal on the forehead due to his dense wool. At any moment, the dominant can fight with another contender for the female if he does not want to retreat immediately after a warning exclamation, more reminiscent of grunts or sniffling. Battles are not often to death, but their probability still cannot be excluded.