Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
How long the animal lives for
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Brown, Black, White|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Alpine meadows and open hills|
|Average Litter Size:|
The average number of babies born at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Grass, Herbs, Mosses|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Human, Bears, Wolves|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Thick, hairy coat and large horns|
Map of Eurasia
The yak is a herd animal found in the mountainous regions of central Asia. The yak tends to gather in herds from 10 yaks to 100 yaks, most of which are female. There are only a few male yaks per herd.
Although there is a large domestic population of yak, there are only a few wild yak remaining. The yak is still used in many parts of central Asia, for pulling heavy farm machines and transporting large loads through the mountain passes.
The average male yak can grow to about 2meters tall, with the female yak being about 1/3 the size of the male yak. All yak have very long hair to keep them warm.
The yak belongs to the same cow family as the Asian water buffalo, the African buffalo and the American bison. However, the yak is slightly more like the American bison in appearance as both the yak and the bison have long hair in order to withstand the colder climates, the bison of the North American winters and the yak of the mid-Asian mountains.
The yak breeds in the warmer months of September and after a gestation period of nine months, the female yak gives birth to a single yak calf. A female yak will occasionally give birth to twins but it is very rare. Some female yak give birth to a calf almost every year but it depends on the environment in which the yak lives and the yak individual. Yak babies are completely independent by the time that they are a year old and they are fully grown when they are between 7 and 8 years old. The average lifespan of a yak is about 20 years in the wild and slightly longer when in captivity.
Like other species of cow, the yak is a herbivore and spends a great deal of time on grassy plains in the mountains grazing on grasses, herbs and wild flowers. In a similar way to other cow species, the yak has more than one stomach which the yak uses to successfully get all of the nutrients out of the plants that it eats.
The yak has firm, dense horns which the yak uses to break through snow in order to get the plants that are buried beneath it and the yak will also use its horns in defence. They have long shaggy hair that covers their bodies that keep them warm and dry.
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First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 7th November 2019
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