Buffalo and bison are not the same animal. Typically, the big fluffy animals that people call buffalo are actually bison, while true buffalo look more like large bulls. The two are related though. Bison and buffalo are bovines (a subfamily of bovids), but bison are in a different genus from buffalo. Other relatives include antelopes, cattle, goats and sheep. There are two different species of bison: the American bison and the European bison. The American bison became the official national mammal of the United States when President Barack Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law on May 9, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The American bison is the largest mammal in North America. 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. They weigh 930 to 2,200 lbs. (422 to 998 kilograms).
The European bison is the largest herbivore in Europe, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. It is around 9.5 feet (3 m) long. While it's around the same length as the American bison, it is typically heavier. It weighs a whopping 1,762 to 2,203 lbs. (800 to 1,000 kg).
Bison are social creatures and live in groups called herds. A herd usually contains females and their offspring. Males will either live near a herd of females or will belong to a herd that consists of other males.
Bison are migratory animals. Herds migrate south in winter and move back north in the spring.
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