Buffalo Fun Facts – FAQs

What is the difference between bison and buffalo?   Scientifically, the term “buffalo” is incorrect for the North American species; its proper Latin name is Bison bison. However, common usage has made the term “buffalo” an acceptable synonym for the American bison. (from The American Buffalo in Transition, by J. Albert Rorabacher.)

Where did the word “buffalo” come from?   In the seventeenth century, French explorers in North America referred to the new species they encountered as “les boeufs”, meaning oxen or beeves. The English, arriving later, changed the pronunciation to “la buff”. The name grew distorted as “buffle”, “buffler”, “buffillo”, and, eventually, “buffalo”. (from The American Buffalo in Transition, by J. Albert Rorabacher.)

How much do bison weigh?  A mature bison bull will weigh approximately 2,000 pounds while a mature bison cow will weigh approximately 1,100 pounds.
What is the gestation period for a female bison?  The gestation period for the American bison is 9 1/2 months. Under normal conditions, cows have their calves from mid-April through June. Cows generally have one calf per year, but twins may occur very rarely.
What is the average life span of a bison?  Bison will typically live for 20-25 years.
Do all bison have horns?  Yes all bison have horns.  The babies are born with only horn buds, but they begin to grow soon after birth.