10 August 2010
Driving down the road from our house we get the daily opportunity to see our neighbors collection of unusual farm animals. I fell in love with this particular farm when we first starting visiting here. It is a new scene every time you drive by. Morning and evenings, the animals are very active and during the day it seems everyone is "napping". They have alpaca (in various colors), long horn cattle and bison. Today I'll talk a little about the bison. There is a male, female and their calf. The parents stay very close to this little one - he (or she) is never out of their sight. One time I saw someone stop by the side of the road to take a picture and I saw the male bison charge the hapless photographer. They are beautiful, massive animals. When I stopped to take my pictures all three of the bison were resting in the tall grass - I realized how massive they really are when I saw them up close. Some facts about the American Bison from Wikipedia:
A bison has a shaggy, long, dark brown winter coat, and a lighter weight, lighter brown summer coat. Bison can reach up to 6 feet 6 inches (2 m) tall, 10 feet (3 m) long, and weigh 900 to 2,200 pounds. The biggest specimens on record have weighed as much as 2,500 pounds. pounds. The heads and forequarters are massive, and both sexes have short, curved horns, which they use in fighting for status within the herd and for defense.
Bison are herbivores, grazing on the grasses and sedges of the North American prairies. They eat in the morning and evening, and rest during the day. Bison mate in August and September; gestation is 285 days. A single reddish-brown calf, born the following spring, nurses for a year. Bison are mature at three years of age, and have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.
For the first three months of life, juveniles are lighter in color than mature bison. One very rare condition is the white buffalo, in which the calf turns entirely white. White bison are considered sacred by many Native Americans.