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Bison facts for kids

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Bison bison or buffalo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bison
Hamilton Smith, 1827
Wisente Bison bonasus-cc
A group of wisents

Bison are a type of even-toed ungulate bovines. They are the biggest mammals in North America. They are often called buffalo, but are not closely related to African buffalo or water buffalo. They used to wander around the prairies of North America in huge herds.


American bison are large, plant-eating mammals that are similar to cows. There used to be as many as 30 million bison in the United States, but because of hunting, by 1890, only 1,000 bison were left. Through conservation efforts, there are now more American bison than there used to be, but still far fewer than there were before the 1800s.


European bison (wisent) tend to live in lightly wooded to fully wooded areas and areas with increased shrubs and bushes, though they can also live on grasslands and plains.


They are classified in the subfamily Bovinae of the family Bovidae


Bison live in the northern part of the world. The American bison lives in North America, and the wisent lives in Europe. They can also live in rugged areas.


They live to be about 20 years old and are born without their "hump" or horns, which both males and females have. After shedding their light colored hair, and with their horns, they are grown at 2 to 3 years of age, but the males keep growing slowly until about age seven. Adult bulls are very dominant in mating season. Adult bison usually have one or two baby bison.

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