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3Characteristics and Adaptations

Elk are related to moose, caribou (reindeer), and the white-tailed deer.

man kneeling behind deerThe Cervidae family is a scientific classification that includes hoofed ruminant animals found all around the world.

deer fawn sleeping in tall grassLike many other species, elk calves are born with spots to help them blend into their habitat while they are vulnerable to predators.

female elkFemale elk weigh around 500 pounds and eat about 15 pounds of leafy vegetation a day. They give birth after a nine month gestation period to 35-40 pound calves.

male elkMale elk are called bulls and they weigh in at around 900 pounds, eating closer to 25 pounds of vegetation each day.

man displaying two different size deer hoovesUngulates are a classification of animal describing a diverse group of mammals that have hooves.

man displaying two different size deer hoovesCompare hooves of elk and deer. Elk hooves are much bigger!

man comparing elk antler to deer antlerAn elk antler is covered by a protective velvet as it grows. Growing at a rate of an inch a day, these antlers are the fastest growing bone tissue in the world!

two elk bulls fightingDuring the mating season in September and October, bulls show off with their antlers to establish dominance and to get breeding rights.

Next: Thanks for Visiting Elk Country