Elk (Cervus canadensis)

Table of Contents (hide)

  1.   1.  Description
    1.   1.1  Antlers
  2.   2.  Food
  3.   3.  Behavior
    1.   3.1  Migration
  4.   4.  Range
  5.   5.  Speech
  6.   6.  Uses
  7.   7.  More
  8.   8.  'Souls
Latin Name Cervus canadensis
Common Name Elk, wapiti
Icon(s) none
PamMorris@Flickr

1.  Description

Elk are one of the largest species of deer in the world. Elk have a faintly 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. During the fall, elk grow a thicker coat of hair, which helps to insulate them during the winter.

Elk cows average 225 to 241 kg (500 to 530 lb), stand 1.3 m (4.3 ft) at the shoulder, and are 2.1 m (6.9 ft) from nose to tail. Bulls are some 40% larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 320 to 331 kg (710 to 730 lb), standing 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at the shoulder and averaging 2.45 m (8.0 ft) in length.

Speed: 45 mph / 72.4km per hour

1.1  Antlers

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.

2.  Food

It is a ruminant species, with a four-chambered stomach, and feeds on grasses, plants, leaves and bark. During the summer, elk eat almost constantly, consuming between 4 and 7 kilograms (8.8 and 15 lb) daily.

3.  Behavior

Adult elk usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the mating period known as the rut, mature bulls compete for the attentions of the cows and will try to defend females in their harem. Dominant bulls follow groups of cows during the rut, from August into early winter. A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators.

3.1  Migration

As is true for many species of deer, especially those in mountainous regions, elk migrate into areas of higher altitude in the spring, following the retreating snows, and the opposite direction in the fall. Hunting pressure also impacts migration and movements. During the winter, they favor wooded areas and sheltered valleys for protection from the wind and availability of tree bark to eat.

4.  Range

Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. They are found especially in the southerly parts of Nova Scotia -- Serena Reserve is rife with elk, along with Chebucto Peninsula (a former reserve).

5.  Speech

According to our Speech Guide, this creature speaks Low Speech naturally. It is therefore not able to communicate with Luperci. This creature is listed as having the ability to learn some limited comprehension of high speech, but generally will never be able to speak it.

6.  Uses

  • The meat has a taste somewhere between beef and venison and is higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, and chicken.
  • Native American tribes, including the Kootenai, Cree, Blackfeet, Ojibwa and Pawnee, produced blankets and robes from elk hides. Elk hides have been used for thousands of years for tepee covering, blankets, clothing and footwear.
  • Antlers are also used in tools, artwork, furniture and other items.

7.  More

8.  'Souls

  • Something!
Categories: Fauna | Resources