Chapter

Temperature Control

Dale F. Lott

in American Bison

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930742 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233386.003.0006
Temperature Control

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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

Chapter.  1699 words. 

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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