Bison, or European bison is one of the largest mammals in Europe. Its height reaches almost two meters, and the weight of males sometimes reaches 1000 kg. The European bison is slightly smaller than its American counterpart, but has a longer mane under the neck and on the forehead. Representatives of both sexes have small horns.
Today, only two genetic lines of bison have been preserved the Caucasian and Belovezhsky plain. Their total number includes about 4000 individuals living both in captivity and in the wild. Therefore, it is counted to the disappearing appearance and listed in the Red Book.
European bison, as mentioned above, is much smaller than the American relative Bison. However, it also has large sizes. It should also be noted that in the middle of the twentieth century there was a tendency to reduce the size of these animals. For example, the plain bison, according to preserved data, previously reached 1200 kg. Today this figure is much lower, and rarely when exceeds a mark of 1000 kg. And so let’s get acquainted with the parameters of these animals in more detail.
Bison Bonasus has:
The front of the torso of the bison is more massive, with a welldeveloped chest. Short neck and high back form a hump. The muzzle is small, the forehead is large and wide. Short wide ears are hidden by thick vegetation on the head. Both sexes have small horns.
The period of mating falls in August September. Thanks to the loyal nature, European bison often cross with a cattle domestic cattle, as a result of which hybrids appear.
The habitat of bison is deciduous and mixed forests of most of Europe from Eurasia and Southern Sweden to Balkans and Northern Spain. You can also meet them in the foreststeppe and steppe zone, in the area. An important factor here is the alternation of forests with open space, for a more comfortable and calm existence.
For centuries, the number of bison has declined, since foresters and hunters ousted these animals from their natural habitat. Thus, in 1927, the last wild European bison was killed in the south of Eurasia. The salvation was zoos in which there were about 50 individuals.
Fortunately, since then the number of bison has gradually increased, and several herds were returned to the wild. Now bison can be found in reserves in Poland and Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, Romania, Eurasia, Slovakia, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Spain. It is planned to set up animals again in Germany and the Netherlands.
Bison feed on plant foods. Their diet is diverse and includes about 400 species of plants. In summer, they often eat juicy grass. Fresh shoots and bark of trees are used less often. In the fall, they are happy to eat acorns. If your favorite feed is not enough, they can eat berries, mushrooms, needles, moss and lichens. In winter, they look for green residues of plants under the snow, eat snow.
In the summer, an adult bull is able to eat up to 32 kg of feed and drink about 50 liters of water, cows up to 23 kg and 30 liters.
Animals prefer to drink every day. That is why in the winter one you can see how the bison pierces the ice with a hoof on the pond, in order to get to the water.
Propagation and way of life
The breeding season for the European bison lasts from August to October. At this time, bulls are especially aggressive and jealous. Adults move between groups of females, looking for a cow ready for mating. They often stay with her in order to avoid the return of the female to the herd and in order to prevent other males to prevent her from approaching her.
The gestation period lasts about nine months, and most calves are born from May to July. Typically, females of bison are able to bring only one cub, but sometimes twins happen. Small calves independently stand on the legs after several hours after childbirth, and they are excommunicated from the chest at the age of 7-12 months.
The bison reaches puberty after 3-4 years.
The rest of the time females are kept in groups of 2-6 cows with calves under the age of three years. Males usually hold onto a mansion or small companies. Intolerant during mating, in winter, bison prefer to go astray into large herds. Together it is easier for them to resist hungry winter predators. In general, European bison has not many enemies, only wolves and bears can try to repel a calf from herd. Well, the main enemy is poachers, but it is even more difficult to insure them than from a hungry wolf.