Bison lick each other’s wounds after a traumatic experience

Photographs of communal wound licking by (a) an adult female and adult male bison (Bison bison) and (b) an adult male bison, on two different GPS-collared bison in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, on 28 September 2022.

A bison licking the wound of another bison in British Columbia, Canada

T.S. Jung

American bison have been observed licking each other’s wounds, a stress-reducing behaviour not documented in a hoofed mammal until now.

When animals sustain injuries, licking is often the first line of defence for wound care. Licking a laceration or puncture can remove debris that causes infection and help wounds heal faster. The saliva of some animals – including humans – has antibacterial properties and supports tissue and nerve regrowth.

While female bison have been observed grooming unrelated calves, reports of …

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