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Bison vs. Buffalo: What’s the difference?
Bison vs. Buffalo
Bison vs. Buffalo – There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding most animals, and one of the most prominent ones is the differences between a buffalo and bison. Here is the thing; the species of animal that most Americans refer to as a buffalo, is actually a bison.
As a matter of fact, buffaloes are mostly seen in Africa and South Asia, while bison live mainly in North and South America.
Bison Special Handling Required
However, both of them are in the Bovidae family which also includes other cloven-hoofed ruminants, like goats. So today, we are going to have a look at how these two animals differ from one another.
Are a Bison and a Buffalo the same thing
No Bison American and European are Wild Herds that one Roamed North America Ranges. They provided food for the American Indians. They were once hunted close to extinction.
Why do we Call Bison Buffalo
I think a lot of confusion lies in some of our western languages. Buffalo Wild Bill – was a Buffalo hunter – but really he was shooting Bisons. Western TV shows constantly portray Buffalo Hunters and Skinners.
Bison were naturally in the United States, and there was a European Bison in Europe.
The Cape Buffalo, which is sometimes called the African Buffalo, is a bovine species from Africa that is prominent for its huge body, unpredictably aggressiveness and revengeful demeanor.
This is why it is often regarded as an extremely wild animal. And practically, it is the very reason why no one at least that we’ve heard of, has tried to domesticate it. No one keeps a buffalo as a pet in their house.
Bison vs. Buffalo
Size and Description of Buffalo
By nature, buffaloes aren’t outstandingly tall animals like the giraffes and the rest.
From measurement, it stands only 51–59 inches 130–150 cm (130–150 cm) and has relatively short legs. Nevertheless, buffaloes are massive, as they often weigh between 935–1,910 pounds (425–870 kg).
Put differently, it is 220 pounds (100 kg) heavier than a cow.
and its horns are way thicker and most times wider, measuring up to 40 inches (100 cm), coupled with a broad shield covering its forehead.
Most of the time, their body is always black and thin, excluding the younger ones, whose body often appears either brown or black in color. Overall, buffaloes are heavy-set, built with stocky legs, a very big head, and absurdly a short neck.
All over their entire body, you won’t find any unique designs or marks on it; plus, they have droopy ears that are large in size.
Range and Habitat of Buffaloes
Buffalo is one of the most successful Africa’s wild ruminants because, it can thrive perfectly in almost every form of grassland habitat in sub-Saharan Africa; ranging from dry savannah to swamp.
and from lowland floodplains to montane mixed forest and glades. As a matter of fact, anywhere, provided it is within a reach of water logs like a lake and so on.
Another notable thing about buffalo is that it is, extremely immune to most diseases that would normally afflict domestic cattle in Africa.
One of such disease is the bovine sleeping sickness transmitted by tsetse flies, which infects all cattle except buffaloes.
Bison vs. Buffalo
Nevertheless, there was one disease that even the buffalo wasn’t immune to, and that was in the early 1890s, when a rinderpest plague cut across the whole African continent, spanning from Ethiopia.
down to the Cape of Good Hope. As a result of this deadly cattle-borne diseases, about 90 percent of the buffaloes’ population died, alongside hundreds of antelopes too.
They are oftentimes seen in African open plains. Plus, you can also locate them at grasslands.
river valleys, semiarid lands, and prairies. For those that love to be extra adventurous.
they often roam into foothills and mountainous areas, even though high-altitude relaxation isn’t really their thing.
In order to stay in its tip-top buffy shape, buffaloes always have to eat a huge amount of grass. Put differently, they rely more on quantity than quality. And this is often possible because buffaloes are built in such a way than they are able to digest longer and thick grasses than most other ruminants.
Plus, they have a broad muzzle and a row of incisor teeth that helps them to make huge bites at a time.
They can also make use of their tongue in bundling grass prior to cropping it. Actually, this trait is common to every bovine.
However, if the economy of the jungle is too hard, and buffaloes can’t locate some grass where they could graze on, then they alternatively munch on woody vegetation.
Just like any other animal, buffaloes have their distinctive trait. Savannah buffaloes most especially.
live in massive herds of about 50-500 animals. And this group often sums up females and their infants, and insignificant subgroups of single males.
Sometimes, the males who are advanced age may remain solitary.
Depending on its mood, buffalo could be thoroughly active all day long, and even in the night as well. From research, an average buffalo spends nothing less than18 hours every day moving and foraging.
Given that they are often preyed upon by lions, as soon as a herd member is attacked.
other buffaloes rather than retreat, will immediately rush to defend the attacked one.
That’s why it’s been noted by most animal scientists that as a group, buffaloes are one of the few animals who can wade off an attack from dangerous predators like lions.
In fact, most hunters tag a wounded buffalo bull as the dangerous animal to ever go after, as they could end anything that comes in their way.
So that’s that for buffaloes. Now, let’s have a look at Bisons.
American Bison is an epitome of Great Plains, which is mostly found in North America.
And for what it’s worth, the current notoriety this specie of cattle has is as a result of the recognition and appreciation given to it by the Native Americans.
Size and Description of Bison
Currently, in North America, Bison is the biggest mammal. And as part of its breath-taking size, it grows to 7 to 11.5 feet (2.1 meters to 3.5) long from head to rump, and its tail adds an extra 20 to 23.5 inches.
It often weighs about 930 to 2,200 lbs. (422 to 998 kilograms).
However, like a buffalo, there are two unique attributes of bison which distinguishes it from other cattle.
These include its shoulder hump and large-sized head.
Range and Habitat of Bison
15,000 out of the 500,000 animals contained on private land in the world are estimated to be truly wild and free-range. And bison happens to be one of them.
From past records, bison roamed from northern Mexico to Canada.
However today, they are restricted to tiny pockets of habitat.
That way there is a small herd of bison’s in Mexico, a number of fragmented herds in the United States, and a number of fragmented herds in Canada.
By nature, bison are herbivorous mammals, which is why they mainly eat plants. Bison are widely known as grazers that eat grasses and sedges rather than searching for fruit or other plants.
That is why whenever winter period comes, it is often hard for them to find a plant that they can feed on, as they are often covered up in the snow.
Nevertheless, whenever snow covers the grasses, bison make use of their highly muscular necks to scrape, all the way down to the buried plant beneath the snow.