A bison's coarse hair acts like a shovel, collecting soft soil and mud, and digging a sizable divot in the ground. There are roughly twelve species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that utilize bison wallows. For example, the critically endangered sharp-tailed grouse uses the compacted soil of a bison wallow as a dance floor, otherwise known as a lek. In climates that are cool and wet enough during the spring, a well established wallow will often fill with water and effectively create a prairie wetland oasis, perfect for breeding amphibians.There are a handful of hypotheses behind why bison wallow and it’s likely that there’s some truth in all of them: grooming, male-male interaction, social behaviour for herd cohesion, play time, itching insect bites, or thermoregulation.
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