For such a huge animal, this elk is unbelievably agile. They are one of the largest terrestrial animals found in North America and Asia. These guys are second in size to the moose and are popular as hunting games. The fantastic animal hurtles through a forest in this clip and reaches an obstacle. It has no problem taking off, with all four hooves off the ground and flying through the air for several feet. It makes a perfect landing and carries on running without any hesitation. This is typical behavior for an adult elk who can run up to 40 miles per hour and jump 8 feet vertically!
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What Exactly Is an Elk?
Elk are often confused with moose because they look pretty similar. Also, the Eurasian moose is called an elk! Their scientific name is Cervus canadensis, and several subspecies include the Rocky Mountain elk and the Manitoban elk. Modern-day elks are related to ancient red deer, which evolved in Asia. They migrated across the Bering Strait to North America around 120,000 years ago.
These guys have thick bodies with short tails and slender legs. They are large animals with a shoulder height of up to 4’11”, and males can weigh over 1000 pounds. The largest subspecies is the Roosevelt elk, which can weigh up to 1300 pounds. Male elks have antlers that can grow an inch a day!
How Do Elk Normally Behave?
Elk have a reputation as a social deer species and live in groups of several hundred individuals. Most of the year, males and females are separated but come together during the mating season. At this time, bulls exhibit a behavior called rutting, where they compete for the attention of the females.
Male elk are very vocal and can be heard bugling from some distance. They spend much of the day eating, especially in the morning and evening. As herbivores, they graze on native grasses all year round. However, they also nibble on tree bark and shrubs during the winter. They need at least 20 pounds of food daily to keep them healthy.
Elk must be agile because they have several predators who can run fast! These include wolves, brown bears, cougars, and coyotes. Most of these predators target calves rather than fully grown adults. Also, predators target bulls that are weakened after the rutting season.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Roy Nelson/Shutterstock.com
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