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 Elk (Cervus elaphus)




Elk | Cervus elaphus photo
Elk, Portage Alaska

Photograph copyright: Shellie Raney - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

Elk | Cervus elaphus photo
Elk, Elk Grove Village

Photograph by Kim Scarborough. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Elk | Cervus elaphus photo
Doe Elk, Alaska

Photograph copyright: Shellie Raney - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

Elk | Cervus elaphus photo
Bull Elk, taken on the Bow Valley parkway near Johnstone Canyon, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Photograph by James Anderson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

ELK FACTS

Description
Elk are social deer that live in herds of up to 400. The fur is dark brown in winter and tan in summer. The back and sides are lighter than the head and neck. The rump is buff colored. Males have a shaggy mane on neck, and widely branched antlers.

Other Names
Red Deer

Size
Length: Males 2.4m; females; 2.2m. Antlers can grow to span 1.5 m from tip to tip.

Environment
open woodlands, coniferous swamps, aspen-hardwood forests, and coniferous-hardwood forests. They are not found in dense unbroken forests.

Food
grasses, sedges, and herbaceous plants in summer and woody growth from trees and shrubs in the winter

Breeding
A single calf is born (rarely twins) after gestation of 240 and 260 days. At birth, calves weigh around 15 to 16 kg and have creamy spots on their back and sides. The calf stays with mother for first two weeks or so. At 16 days the calf is able to join the herd, and is weaned after 60 days.

Range
large populations are found only in the western United States from Canada through the Eastern Rockies to New Mexico, and in a small region of Michigan.

Notes
In some places Elk are farmed for Elk meat and other elk products.

Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Cervidae
Genus:Cervus
Species:elaphus
Common Name:Elk