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Please, Do Not Poke the Bison

Lacey's comment made a much better title, so I had to change it. Don't try this at home. Not that you have bison at home to try this with anyway. And not that this makes it any safer, but they approached me actually. These are American plains bison, Bison bison bison, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park's north unit (about 50 miles north of the south unit). I approached the herd to a certain extent, and then the herd approached me the rest of the way. Whenever they got around 10 feet from me I'd back up slightly though. There's actually a lot more to the herd than just these guys. The rest were to the left, right, and behind me. The bison at the south unit have never approached me like that.


And on a side note, I have yet to find a use for the snake hooks I made, as I have still seen 0 snakes.


Due to morphological and genetic similarities between the genera Bison and Bos (cattle), some scientists propose merging Bison into Bos. This is similar to the merging of Bibos (Indian gaur) into Bos, which did occur. For now though, the official genus of bison is still Bison.


Bison are the largest land animals in North America, but this is the smaller of the two living subspecies. The other subspecies were hunted to extinction. The American wood bison, B. bison athabascae, is larger and rarer than the plains bison. There is also a European bison, but that is a separate species. This is how to tell the North American subspecies apart from each other:


Plains bison have woolly hair on the head, while the larger wood bison has shaggier moppy hair. Plains bison have round, hill-shaped humps on their shoulders and wood bison have square, butte-shaped humps. Because of the humps, the tallest point on a plains bison is above the front legs, while on a wood bison it's ahead of the legs.


On a plains bison, there is a noticeable difference in color and/or fur length between the cape and the rest of the back; on wood bison it blends together. Plains bison have larger beards, throat manes, and furrier front legs than their larger wood cousins. Plains bison are also native to midland America while wood bison have a smaller range in the northeast.

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Taken on September 12, 2009