Photo Gallery | Bison or Buffalo?
Are they buffalo or bison? It's a common question asked by many park goers, but the animals you see at Shelby Farms Park are American Bison (Bison bison), commonly known as buffalo.
American buffalo are different from African and Asian buffalo. "Bison" is scientifically accurate, while "buffalo" recalls this animal's central role in American history. Shelby Farms likes “buffalo” best.
For Action News 5's #MemphisTriviaTuesday, check out the facts below about the most iconic animal at Shelby Farms Park:
—Buffalo have been at Shelby Farms Park since 1989. The Shelby County Superintendent for Shelby Farms Park - Tommy Hill - brought six buffalo and two longhorn steer to the Park from Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo Tennessee. They quickly became popular Park inhabitants and have lived there ever since.
—Males are called "bulls" and females are called "cows." Males can weigh up to 2,000 lbs.
—Males and female buffalo have short, curved horns, which they use in fighting to defend their status within the herd.
—Buffalo typically mate in August and September and have a 9-9.5 month gestation period.
—Calves can stand soon after they are born and can walk with the herd in just a few hours.
—Calves are born with a rusty red coat which gets darker as they grow up.
—Buffalo can run up to 30 mph.
—It’s not always easy to tell bulls from cows at a distance. Bulls have a wider face and thicker hair on their forehead, front legs and beard. Bulls also tend to have shoulders wider than their hips, while females tend to have hips wider than their shoulders.
—The buffalo hump is made of strong muscles supported by very long vertebrae.
—Buffalo wallow in dirt or mud, both to remove molting fur patches and to deter flies from biting. Bulls also wallow in mating season to display strength and vigor.
Did you know that you can adopt a Shelby Farms Park buffalo? The honorary adoption helps ensure the health and vitality of the herd and range. When you adopt a buffalo ($100), you will receive a custom certificate commemorating your adoption, an official Shelby Farms Park stuffed buffalo toy, and a "Roam the Park" sticker and magnet. Buffalo adoptions make great gifts for Park and animal lovers! For more information about the herd and to adopt a buffalo,click here.
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