Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ungulate


 Ungulates are large mammals which support their weight on the tips of their hoofs when they walk. Yellowstone is filled with ungulates. There are several members of the deer family including elk and moose and the largest ungulate in North America the bison. At one time there was estimated to be over 50 million bison that roamed North America but they were hunted by the early European settlers until they were almost extinct.
The bison herds of Yellowstone are protected from hunters. Grizzly Bears and wolves occasionally take calves, the sick and old. The main thing attacking bison in Yellowstone are fleas, flies, ticks and other pests. In the top photo a dust bath on the prairie helps to remove some of the parasites. If that does not work you might be able to get an occasional hitch hiker to help out. Birds such as cowbirds and European starling, above, often ride around on the back of the bison and pick off insects. This is a symbiotic relationship which provides food for the birds and some relief from the bison.

8 comments:

Jama said...

Scary looking animal!

Roger Owen Green said...

love the birds cleaning the beasts!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

DeniseinVA said...

It seems to work well for both. Magnificent animals!

Leslie: said...

Ungulates are unique!

Leslie
abcw team

richies said...

Learning new words. :)
An Arkies Musings

LONDONLULU said...

I love this U word, and the captures are wonderful! Magnificent creatures.

Dave said...

Good looking beast.... however I thought Elk and Moose were one and the same, not in the US apparently, a Moose is a kind of deer over your way.

Well I just learnt something new

Joy said...

Those birds bring a new meaning to a 'free lunch'. What a sight it must have been to see all those bison roaming across the plains before the Europeans arrived.