The North American bison is often incorrectly called a buffalo. While they look similar, the name buffalo belongs properly only to the two main buffalo species that reside in Africa and Asia that being the African Cape buffalo and the Asian water buffalo.
One of the heaviest land mammals on earth, male bison, referred to as bulls, can grow 3 m to 3.7 m (10 or 12 feet) in length and as tall as 1.8 m (6 feet) at the shoulder and weigh up to 1360.5 kg (3,000 lbs.)
Short, black horns stick out from the bison’s massive head. The hair on the head, neck, shoulders and forelegs is long and shaggy. The hair on the head can grow up to 30 cm (1 foot) long and forms a beard on the chins of the bulls.
You wouldn’t think it, given its enormous size and clumsy appearance, but the bison is a surprisingly agile and sure-footed creature. Bison are also very fast and can run up to 55 kilometres per hour (34 miles per hour).
You might also be surprised to learn that bison are amazingly good swimmers. Being so buoyant, the head, hump and tail stay above the surface of the water.
Bison once roamed the continent in huge numbers before being hunted to near extinction. Thanks to conservation efforts at reserves and game farms like Marineland their numbers have increased.
What a shame it would have been if the bison had completely disappeared!
Be sure to take time to appreciate and admire the majestic bison on your next visit to Marineland.