• Zachary Galindo

What Is An Elk?

The Elk or Wapiti is a large deer with a short tail and a prominent buff-colored patch on its rump. Together with the Sambar Deer and the Moose, this animal is one of the largest deer species in the world. Males have extremely large antlers, which usually start growing in the spring, being shed in the winter, while females have no antlers. Also, some individuals may grow thin mane on their neck. By the winter, the coat of these animals becomes thicker, in order to protect them from the cold. The winter coat of the elk consists of long, waterproof hairs, which cover the thick, wooly undercoat of this animal. The Newborn elk calves are spotted, losing their spots at the end of summer. The color of their fur depends on the habitat and season of the year. During the summer, their coat is reddish shade while in the winter their coat becomes a lighter greyish in color.

Elks are social animals, gathering in summer herds that contain up to 400 elks. The matriarchy elk herd is led by a single cow. Elk, found in mountainous areas, undergo seasonal migrations, living at higher elevations in summer and at lower elevations in winter.

They graze in the early sunrise and late evenings. By day and in the middle of the night, elks are inactive, spending most of their time chewing their cud. Elks are excellent swimmers. Males are able to move through the forest silently and remain unheard. When agitated, the elk will flare its nostrils, lift the head, lay the ears back, and will even punch with its front hooves.


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