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American BisonA Natural History$
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Dale Lott, Jan van Wagtendonk, and Kevin Shaffer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233386

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233386.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Temperature Control

Temperature Control

(p.53) Chapter 6 Temperature Control
American Bison

Dale F. Lott

University of California Press

Bison seldom if ever die of heat, but they often die of cold. The dark coat that makes the sun a nuisance in summer may be a lifesaver in winter. Bison evolved in really terrible winters; and even now, especially severe winters kill many of the old and the young. Every calorie of heat absorbed from the sun is a calorie the bison does not have to manufacture from the scarce forage. Bison cut their energy output by losing their appetite. They eat less and produce less heat — and not just because food is scarcer in winter. There's more to hair than color; it also offers insulation. Bison wallow in the summer, especially during the middle of the day. Wallowing puts soil into and onto their coat.

Keywords:   temperature, bison, energy, wallowing, dark hair, insulation

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