Elk Pictures

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The Elk or Wapiti (Cervus canadensis)is one of the largest species of deer in the world. It can be found in North America and Eastern Asia. In North America only the native moose (Alces alces)is larger than the elk. In Europe the moose is called an Elk so it can be a little confusing. Elk can be found in forest and forest edge habitats. They feed on grass, plants, leaves and bark. They can eat up to 4-7 kilograms a day in the summer time.

"Elk are more than twice as heavy as mule deer and have a more reddish hue to their hair coloring, as well as large, buff colored rump patches and smaller tails. Moose are larger and darker than elk; bulls have distinctively different antlers. Elk gather in herds, while moose are solitary. Elk cows average 225 kilograms (500 lb), stand 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) at the shoulder, and are 2 metres (6.6 ft) from nose to tail. Bulls are some 40% larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 320 kilograms (710 lb), standing 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) at the shoulder and averaging 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length. The largest of the subspecies is the Roosevelt elk, found west of the Cascade Range in the U.S. states of California, Oregon and Washington, and in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Roosevelt elk have been reintroduced into Alaska, where the largest males are estimated to weigh up to 600 kilograms (1,300 lb)." - Wikipedia

"Only the males have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) long and weigh 18 kilograms (40 lb). Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) per day. While actively growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularised skin known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have fully developed. Bull elk may have eight or more tines on each antler; however, the number of tines has little to do with the age or maturity of a particular animal. The Siberian and North American elk carry the largest antlers while the Altai wapiti have the smallest. The formation and retention of antlers is testosterone-driven. After the breeding season in late fall, the level of pheromones released during estrus declines in the environment and the testosterone levels of males drop as a consequence. This drop in testosterone leads to the shedding of antlers, usually in the early winter." - Wikipedia

All Text and Images Copyright Michael Cummings ©

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