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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, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 16 October 2019

Temperature Control

Temperature Control

Chapter:
(p.53) Chapter 6 Temperature Control
Source:
American Bison
Author(s):

Dale F. Lott

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520233386.003.0006

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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