American Bison

(Bison bison)

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STATUS: Native, “Near Threatened”

DESCRIPTION: It has a shaggy, long, dark-brown winter coat and a light-weight, light brown summer coat. Their height at the shoulder can range from 152 inches to 6.6 feet! They can weigh between 701 and 2,178 lbs.

DIET: They graze on grasses and sedges of prairies.

HABITAT: River valleys, prairies, and plains. They prefer semiopen grasslands.

NOTES: They became nearly extinct in the 19th century due to hunting and diseases from domestic cattle. The population went from 60 million in the late 18th century to 541 animals in 1889. There are roughly 31,000 animals today, largely restricted to preserves and national parks. The wood bison subspecies is one of the largest bovid animals in the world and is the heaviest, second tallest animal in the Americas. They can jump up to 6 feet vertically and run 35-40 mph.

Photo Credit: Flickr user ceasol Native,