Video shows giant bison reducing Yellowstone boardwalk to splinters

American bison in scrubland
(Image credit: Getty)

A huge bison has been caught on camera crossing a boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park and breaking right through the wood. As hiking season picks up, it's a timely reminder to give these powerful animals plenty of space, and appreciate them from a safe distance.

Yellowstone's boardwalks are solidly built, and handle millions of visitors a day, but male bison (bulls) can weigh up to 2,000lb, while females can be up to 1,000lb, and it seems this animal was just too big for the boards to bear.

The video (which you can watch below) was recorded last summer, but has come to light this week after being shared by Wyoming radio station K2 Radio. It was captured by park visitor Adam Nigels, who wonders aloud whether the wood will bear the animal's weight. When the boards splinter, he concludes "Guess that's a no."

Boardwalks are installed between Yellowstone's geothermal features to give visitors a great view of the geysers and springs from a safe distance. This incident took place near Norris Geyser Basin, which is the park's hottest and oldest geothermal feature, but no match a bison crashing through the boards when it comes to attracting attention.

Bison safety

The National Park Service (NPS) advises anyone visiting Yellowstone to stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) from bison at all times, and reminds guests that the powerful creatures have injured more people at the park than any other animal.

"While bison may seem as harmless and slow, they can be very dangerous and fast," the organization says. "Despite their size, bison can run up to 35mph (55kph) and can pivot quickly: an advantage when fighting predators that often attack from behind."

For more advice on how to stay safe, see our guides how to avoid being gored by a bison, and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.