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MLA Full: "Meet the American Bison!" YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 21 February 2017,
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Bison are magnificent! Join Jessi and Squeaks and learn all about America's National Mammal.

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Hey Squeaks, do you know what the national mammal of the United States is? [Squeaks reacts] That’s right!

The American Bison! You may have heard people call these animals buffalo before, but the buffalo is actually a totally different animal that lives in Asia and Africa.

And bison are amazing animals, with big humps, long horns, and furry beards. So here are some of the coolest things to know about bison! First, bison babies, which are called calves, have a funny nickname: red dogs.

They got this nickname because calves are a reddish-orange color when they’re young. Then, as they grow up, their fur turns dark brown. And bison calves are quick learners!

About an hour after calves are born, they’re already standing up and starting to move around. Over a few years, that little calf grows and grows, until eventually it’s huge! And that’s the second thing to know about bison: they’re really big!

Bison are actually the biggest land animal in North America. The biggest bison can weigh up to 900 kilograms, which is almost as much as a car! Since they’re so big, you might think bison move around slowly.

But bison can actually run /really/ fast — up to 56 kilometers an hour. That’s much faster than you or I could run! It’s about as fast as a car speeding down the street!

So where do bison get the energy to grow so big and run so fast? [Squeaks reacts] That’s right, Squeaks! They eat! Bison eat lots of plants all day.

And that big hump behind their heads helps them eat. See, in the winter, it snows a lot where bison live, and the snow covers up the plants and grass that they eat. When there’s a lot of snow covering the plants, a bison will use the muscles in its hump to swing its head back and forth and brush away the snow.

That way, it can keep munching on its yummy frozen meals. But when it’s warm out, bison have something else to worry about: bugs. Insects like to bite bison, and if you’ve ever had a mosquito bite, you can probably imagine how itchy and annoying it is to have insects biting you all the time.

One way bison try to get rid of the bugs is by rolling around in the dirt. They’ll also rub their horns against trees, which makes the trees release chemicals that repel the insects. They’re basically making their own bug spray!

One last fact about bison: they’ve been roaming the United States for thousands of years, and there used to be millions of them! But then people hunted too many of them, and soon there were only a few left. Luckily, people realized what was happening to the bison and decided to do something to keep them from disappearing forever.

They kept small groups of bison on conservation lands, special places where they could be protected from people hunting them illegally. And guess what? Because of these efforts, there are about 30,000 wild bison now!

Lots of them live in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and you can see them if you ever visit there! So now you know all about bison. I think they definitely deserve the title of National Mammal!

Do you have questions about the American Bison? Or about any other animals? Let us know!

Grab a grown-up to leave a comment down below, or send us an e-mail to And we’ll see you next time, here at the fort!