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Scientific name: Cervus canadensis

Other common names: Wapiti

The basics:
Elks are the second largest deer in the world (after the moose), and one of the largest mammals in North America and east Asia. Native cultures considered them a spiritual force. They were introduced to various countries around the world, including Argentina and New Zealand, where they have adapted well. Elks are typically considered a game species, hunted for their lean and high-protein meat.

Appearance / health:
A close relative of the cattle, goats, and camels, the Elk is a large ruminant with four stomachs and an even number of toes on each foot. Compared to the moose, the Elk smaller and lighter in color. Compared to the deer, the Elk is bigger and heavier, has a reddish color, rump patches, and a smaller tail. They stand 4-5 ft. at the shoulder and average 6-7 ft. long from nose to tail.

Male Elk have antlers that grow in the spring and shed in the winter. The antlers grow about an inch a day and are covered by “velvet” skin, which is shed in the summer. Elk grow a thick fur in the winter, which is also shed in the summer by rubbing against trees. Calves are born with spots, which are lost at the end of their first summer.

Elks are known to suffer from and spread infectious diseases. Vaccination efforts are said to have mixed results.

Behavior / temperament:
Male elks engage in antler wrestling or sparring as a mating ritual. They also establish dominance and attract females by bugling, which is a loud distinctive call often heard in the wild.

Housing / diet:
Elks are ruminants, foraging and browsing on plants, shoots, branches, and tree bark depending on the season. In the summer, they graze on grass and tree sprouts.


hunting, hunting ranches, large open habitat


close proximity, Mad Cow disease, extreme caution, Charge


human shy

Elk Behavior Tip


From DanaMK Nov 16 2014 11:33AM


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