Difference Between Bison and Buffalo

Bison vs Buffalo

Bison and buffalo are two bovine mammals that are symbolical in their respective parts of the world. They are large herbivores sporting horns and are usually mistaken for each other. They are very different, however, and it will be discussed in this article.


The bison are large bovines that are native to North America, known as the American bison, and Europe, known as the wisent or European bison. Bison have shaggy coats which they usually shed during summer. They are also nomadic and travel in herds, although the non-dominant bulls travel alone or in small groups. Bison have short stocky legs and short horns that extend towards the side of their heads.


The buffalo is generally found in Africa and Asia. They have short, glossy coats but have longer horns. Buffaloes are nomadic grazers as well and they also travel in herds. The African buffalo is regarded as a dangerous animal and is sought after by hunters as trophies. The Asian water buffalo, on the other hand, have been successfully domesticated and plays a large role in agriculture.

Difference between Bison and Buffalo

As cousins, bison and buffaloes are similarly large horned creatures. Bison and African cape buffaloes are wild creatures and are typically dangerous to humans. Only the Asian water buffalo has been domesticated. They are also culturally significant; the bison being the symbol of the Great American West, while the buffalo is regarded as an important part of Asian agriculture, it is even at one time a national symbol in the Philippines. Because of their natural habitat, the bison and the buffalo are also different, like for example, the bison has a thicker coat compared to the buffalo’s. Their habits are also similar; both are fond of wallowing in the ground.

The bison and the buffalo are two very distinct creatures, even if they are cousins. Hopefully, this helped in erasing the confusion you might have had for these two creatures.

In brief:

1. The bison is a native to North America and Europe. There are two species: the American bison and the European Bison or wisent.

2. The buffalo is native to Africa and Asia. African buffaloes are wild animals while Asian buffaloes are mostly domesticated.

3. Bison have thick shaggy coats, though they shed these during summer, while the buffalo has short and smooth coats. Bison have shorter horns compared to the buffaloes as they prefer butting heads to locking horns. Both are nomadic grazers and they travel in herds.