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Bob the bison

Bob the BisonHi, I'm Bob - a young male American Bison.

I live in Yellowstone National Park with my herd. I’m 2 years old and I’m a Plains Bison. My cousin the Wood Bison is larger than me, but I have a lot more wool between my horns and my beard and throat mane are much bigger. We both eat grass and other plants, and we can both live in places where it’s hot and where deep snow falls.

When 1 was born, I didn’t have horns or a hump and my coat was yellowish-red fur. My horns and hump are still growing, but I have a shaggy brown winter coat now, which comes off in clumps in spring. Some people say I look really messy and ragged when my coat is shedding. My summer coat is a lighter colour and weighs less than my winter woolly one.

I like wallowing in the prairie dirt, or in the mud when it rains. I roll and twist around and make a big dent in the soil with my back. Some days I wallow with other bison when we’re playing, and the rough ground feels good when I’m shedding my coat. When the ground is frozen I can get water by eating snow or breaking the ice with my strong muzzle.

I’m very good at running and jumping. I can take off into the air from a standing start and spin around, and I jump higher than any other bison in my herd.

My herd watches out for wolves because they will attack us in a pack if they can, especially in the early spring when our calves are born. I’m a teenager and still find wolves scary. If there are any around, we younger ones run into the middle of the herd and hide. When the wolves circle and howl I’m scared.

Grizzly bears hunt us too, especially in spring when they wake from hibernation and come out of their caves. They zigzag around our herd with their noses on the ground, looking for calves that have wandered off on their own. I don’t like grizzlies or wolves.

Lots of people come to see us at Yellowstone. Some of them walk up close to us to take photos. They think we’re quiet and gentle and most of the time I ignore them, especially if I’m busy eating. But other bison in our herd might suddenly charge at people and give them a fright.

I hope you will visit Yellowstone one day and see my herd. But remember - bison may look big and heavy but we can spin around and jump quickly, and run faster than a horse. We can be quietly grazing one minute – and then charging at you faster than you can blink! I wouldn’t mean to hurt you, not really. But I could stomp on you accidentally.

Say Hi when you see me – but don’t get too close!


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