American Plains Bison

Bison Bison Bison

new baby born mid december mum Aira and Dad Kaiya


North America


North America Prairies, plains and open woodland


Grasses, vegetation


285 to 300 days, one calf born


12 - 15 years in the wild, 18 - 25 years in captivity.


Humans, wolves, mountain lions, bears

Conservation Status:

Near Threatened


American Bison (BY-suhn) have a massive head and forequarters covered with long, dark brown woolly hair. Some stand over 180cm tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 1,000kg! They have a highly developed sense of smell, good hearing and will charge when cornered - running up to 35mph!

Bison communicate through grunts and snorts. Male bison 'bellow' to announce their presence and establish dominance in a herd, most prevalent around mating season.

Living in a hierarchical group led by a dominant female, herds generally consist of females, juvenile males and a few older males.

Fun fact: A baby bison is affectionately nicknamed a 'red dog' as calves are generally orange-red in colour for the first few months of their lives.

At Hamilton Zoo:

You can find the bison at the bottom of the savannah.

Aira - 5/12/11
Karen - 13/11/17
Jaimee - 28/3/18
Rayleen - 16/12/18
Daisy - 1/2/19
Pauline - 10/1/20

Doug - 25/11/20
Kai - 15/12/21