A group of people visiting Yellowstone National Park found themselves in the middle of a bison stampede last week that brought traffic to a standstill. One of the park visitors shared a video on Facebook showing a large herd of the animals charging past stationary vehicles.
In the clip, which you can watch below, the bison stampede straight past a line of traffic without incident, which isn't always the case; bison have been known to ram cars on occasion (opens in new tab), particularly during the rut in late summer and early fall, when males are unpredictable and easily agitated. One person does, however, comment that the animals smell bad, and "all need a shower".
Animals like bison usually stampede when they perceive something as a threat, and according to the family who shared the video, this particular charge was sparked when a pair of bulls began sparring.
During rutting season, males will posture, bellow, and butt heads to establish dominance, but rarely actually risk injury by fighting. According to the National Park Service (opens in new tab), bulls can also be seen 'wallowing' – rolling violently in the dust, sometimes so vigorously that the whole herd is hidden in a cloud.
The visitors in this video did the right thing by staying in their vehicles. The NPS advises (opens in new tab) that your car is often the best and safest place to view wildlife. It's not possible during a stampede, but ideally you should always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from the animals. For more safety advice, see our guide how to avoid being gored by a bison.
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
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