American Bison Dust Bath

Beginning of a Bison dust bathBeginning of a Bison dust bath

I photographed a few birds yesterday on Antelope Island but my favorite images that I created yesterday were of this American Bison dust bathing.

Bison in a dusty wallowBison in a dusty wallow

Bison roll in wallows to groom themselves and remove loose fur.

Bison Bull in a wallowBison Bull in a wallow

It is also thought that they take dust baths to chase off the flies that plague them during the warmer months of the year and that the dust left on their skin and fur may help prevent bites.

American Bison rolling in the dustAmerican Bison rolling in the dust

What ever the reason, I find it interesting to watch the large animals roll around in the dust…

Bison bull on his back in the wallowBison bull on his back in the wallow

Rubbing their backs on the ground…

Bison kicking up the dustBison kicking up the dust

And kicking up the dust in the wallow.

Dusty Bison bullDusty Bison bull

This was a fairly dark bull but its hindquarters look to be the same color as the dust he is bathing in.

Bison and a cloud of dustBison and a cloud of dust

These bulls are large, from 1500 to 2000 pounds and they roll around with great ease.

Dust bathing BisonDust bathing Bison

When the bull stopped rolling briefly the dust seemed to hang around in the air.

Bison bull enjoying a dust bathBison bull enjoying a dust bath

And then he started to roll around again.

American Bison and dustAmerican Bison and dust

And kicked up more dust.

Bison covered in dustBison covered in dust

Even his dark nose had a layer of dust on it.

American Bison shaking off the dustAmerican Bison shaking off the dust

And when the bison stood up he shook some of the dust off before he started to move away. The American Bison dust bath only lasted about one minute, I wish I could shower that fast some mornings! Especially when I am running late.

Life is good.


Techs for these images: Nikon D810, f7.1, ISO 400, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, shutter speeds between 1/320 and 1/640.


  1. Jane Chesebrough June 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Very impressive series here, Mia.It appears that he has his eye on you all the time which is a little daunting. Sometime I have walked past a wallow when the bison are not there and amazed by the size of them.

  2. Deborah June 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    So groovy!
    I saw some once and made some photographs when I was in Wyoming.

  3. Elephant's Child June 24, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Anthromorphism to the fore – he looks like he is totally blissed out.
    A wonderful series. Thank you.

  4. Carol June 24, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Great pictures. Brought back some memories for me. I saw this once when I was in Yellowstone. These are fascinating animals and I loved seeing these up close and personal!!

  5. Patty Chadwick June 24, 2016 at 8:48 am

    This bull reminds me of another huge “black” bull that made me sweat bullets as he stood in the middle of the road, daring me to move while he waited for his harem and little red babies to cross….even after they’d all made it safely, he continued to give me the evil eye and challenging me to move….

  6. Patty Chadwick June 24, 2016 at 8:40 am

    That’s quite a sight! As usual, no visible ears…(not sure they all have them). An old horse whisperer I used to tag after once told me you can tell how much a horse is worth by how many times it rolls completely over…$100 dollars for each time. I believed everything he told me…

  7. Kim June 24, 2016 at 5:59 am

    This made me smile. Love these! Thanks, Mia!

  8. Bob McPherson June 24, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Wonderful photos Mia. What a Majestic animal.

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