It seems pretty obvious that attempting to pet the largest mammals in North America is a terrible idea, but some people need to be reminded of the danger of stroking the fur of a 2,000-pound, horned wild animal, so here we are.
The issue of visitors petting bison has become so serious that the National Park Service felt it was necessary to issue a safety guide, outlining the proper interaction between visitors and bisons. It’s pretty straightforward: Don’t touch them. At all. Ever. No matter how fuzzy they look, no matter how many likes it’ll get you on Insta, just don’t do it.
In a humorous diagram published on Facebook, the National Park Service outlined the areas you shouldn’t touch a bison. Spoiler alert: It’s all of them. Unless you want to end up in the hospital or die.
It might sound like these instructions are unnecessary, but there have been a string of incidents this year involving visitors and bisons. On July 23, a nine-year-old girl was charged and tossed in the air by a bison in Yellowstone National Park while standing a mere five to 10 feet from a group of the animals. On July 27, a teen was injured by a bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
The National Park Service advises visitors to give wildlife at least 25 yards of space, and 100 yards for large animals.