Elk

Cervus canadensis

After the moose, the elk is the second largest species of cervidae (deer) in the world. Elk prefer woodland, coniferous forests and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark, and range throughout the northern biomes of western North America and Eurasia.

Characteristics

Elk are larger than black or white tailed deer and caribou and weigh up to 450 kilograms (1,000 lbs). A bull elk towers nearly 9 feet tall, including his antlers, which can add up to 4 feet of height and grow anew each year from small pedicles attached to their skull. An elk’s coat ranges in colour from dark brown in the winter to a lighter tan in the summer. One of the elk’s most prominent characteristics is its shaggy mane — a dark, thick scarf of fur that hangs from its neck to its chest. Elk have a white rump which gives them their Shawnee name wapiti…

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