10 Difference Between Buffalo and Bison (With Table)

Most people use buffalo and bison interchangeably without realizing the difference. They are both ruminant animals that belong to the family Bovidae.

The main difference between buffalo and bison is that buffalo live in dense-covered habitats such as reeds and thickets in Africa and South Asia while bison live in river valleys, prairies, and plains in North America. The difference between the two animals can be noticed by focusing on three H’s; that is the Horns, the Hump, and the Home.

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Comparison Table (Buffalo vs Bison)

Characteristics Buffalo Bison
Meaning Refers to a heavy-built wild ox with backward curving horns. Refers to a hump-backed, shaggy-haired, wild ox native to North America.
Habitat Lives in densely covered habitats such as reeds and thickest in Africa and South Asia. Lives in river valleys, prairies, and plains of North America and Europe.
Environment Not adapted to live in cold conditions. It is adapted to live in cold places.
Weight It weighs around 2000 pounds. It weighs between 700-2200 pounds.
Classification The three main species are African or cape buffalo, wild Asian water buffalo, and domestic water buffalo. The two main species are American bison and the European bison.
Hump Do not have a hump. Have a large hump.
Horns Have medium sharp horns. Have small sharp horns.
Fur and beard Have light fur or no fur. Have thick fur and beard.
Uses Used for meat. Used for meat, clothing, weapons, and shelter.
Domestication They are domesticated. They are not domesticated.
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What is Buffalo?

Buffalo is a heavy-build wild ox with backward curving horns. They are mainly found in Africa and South Asia. There are three main species of buffalo. These are African or cape buffalo, Asian water buffalo, and domestic water buffalo.

They are ruminants and feed on plant matter hence herbivores. They have medium-sized horns that are curved backward and they are mainly used for defense against their predators such as lions. Their flesh is used like meat by both wild animals and human beings.

They live in densely covered areas such as reeds and thickest in Africa and South Asia. They have little or no fur and this makes them not able to live in cold areas.

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What is Bison?

Bison is a hump-backed, shaggy hair wild ox native to North America. They mainly live in North America and Europe. They are two main species of bison. They include; American bison and European bison. There are Northern species of American bison known as wood bison which is native to Alaska and Canada.

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It has humps, one at the shoulder which helps it to sweep away and drift off the snow during winter. They have thick fur which enables them to survive in very cold weather as it gives them some warmth. They have small and sharp horns.

They live in valleys, prairies, and plains of North America and Europe. They are used for meat, clothing, weapons, and shelter. As they have various uses, they are mainly hunted and this makes them not to be domesticated.

Main Differences between Buffalo and Bison

  1. Buffaloes live in Africa and South Asia while bison is found in North America and Europe.
  2. Buffalo has medium-sized and backward curved horns while bison has short-size and sharp horns.
  3. Buffalo does not have humps while bison has humps.
  4. Buffalo has little or no fur on its body while bison has thick and heavy fur on its body.
  5. Buffalo is only used for meat while bison are used for meat, clothing, weapons, and shelter.
  6. Buffalo is not adapted to live in a cold environment while bison is adapted to live in a cold environment because of their thick fur.
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Similarities between Buffalo and Bison

  1. Both eat grass but if the grass is scarce, they eat tree barks and leaves.
  2. They both have fur on their bodies.
  3. They both can live in rugged conditions.
  4. Both are ruminant mammals.
  5. Both are huge, have horns, ox-like animals.
  6. They both belong to the family Bovidae.

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In Conclusion

Buffalo and bison are used interchangeably but they are different. Buffalo is found in Africa and South Asia while bison are found in North America and Europe. Many people in North America refer to buffalo as bison. The main features that make buffalo different from bison are the three H’s and where they live.

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