Elk are members the the deer family referred to as Cervidae, i beg your pardon is part of a larger team of mammals dubbed ungulates (mammals through hooves). In phibìc America there are five species of cervidae: elk, moose, caribou, white-tailed deer, and mule deer. All five of these pets live in Idaho.

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The typical elk lives around 20 years. Adults, back rarely hunted by predators, might fall victim come bears, mountain lions and grey wolves. The calves could be food for coyotes or bobcats. They safeguard themselves by living in big herds of up to 400 in number.

Where carry out They Live?


Elk once resided in many locations of the northern hemisphere, yet excessive hunting and habitat destruction has limited their number in phibìc America to largely the western unified States and Western Canada. Only Colorado and Montana have much more elk 보다 Idaho. Elk have been reestablished in areas of Michigan and likewise introduced to nations such together Argentina, Chile and also Australia, among others.

Elk need food, water, sanctuary and space to survive. Elk live all throughout Idaho but especially near large meadows wherein they graze ~ above grasses and the leaves of shrubs and trees. They prefer meadows the are close to forested areas where they have the right to hide, when necessary.

Elk space herbivores. On average, one elk need to eat around three pounds of food per day because that every 100 pounds the weighs. This can include up to an ext than 15 pounds that food! Elk require plenty the space, too. They require to be able to reach your food, water, and also shelter conveniently without person interference. Elk need a healthy and balanced habitat and also are impacted by just how many human being live in and around that habitat.

Adaptations: Color and also Coat


Elk have emerged a number of adaptations to help it survive. The Shawnee Indians called the elk Wapiti, which method “white rump.” This is because their hind finish tends to it is in white in color. One elk"s coat shade is any shade from tan to dark brown relying on the season. This color is discovered all roughly their bodies, including the legs and also back. Their necks are usually darker 보다 the remainder of your bodies. Bulls tend to it is in lighter colored 보다 cows. Its color provides them with camouflage.

In enhancement to helping protect the elk from predators, one elk"s coat helps keep it warm or cool depending upon the season. Double a year, elk melted every hair on your body. Your spring shedding is noticeable since old winter hair dangles like long shaggy beards from their necks and also sides. By July their winter coat is completely replaced by their summer coat. This coat has just one class of hair. Longer, darker hair begins showing up on your heads and also necks at some time in early on September. An elk"s winter cloak is five times warmer 보다 its summer coat. It consists of 2 layers — thick, long guard hairs and a dense woolly undercoat. One elk"s capacity to grow the cloak it requirements is a type of adaptation because that survival.

Adaptations: Life Cycle


Bulls and also cows are various sizes. Bull elk deserve to weigh about 700 pounds. A cow elk can weigh much more than 500 pounds. Elk gather in herds. Living in a herd help them stay safe from predators.

During the spring, elk move to higher elevations in find of new plants, often following routes the they have traveled before. Migration is a seasonal movement of one animal. Elk invest their summers in the mountains where food is abundant and also the temperature is cool. In the fall, snow in the high country give elk the signal come head to lower elevations. The loss is elk adjustment season. Bull elk will certainly fight each various other to gain regulate of what is recognized as a harem.

Calves space born eight and also a fifty percent months after ~ mating. The calves room born from mid-May through beforehand July. Tyically only one calf, weighing about 35 pounds, is born. During its first couple of weeks, the calf may get up to two pounds a day. The mommy elk will certainly leave the calf surprise alone for lengthy periods the time to stop predators indigenous locating the calf by sniffing the end the scent of the mother.

Adaptations: Antlers


Elk are recognized for their substantial antlers. Antlers are a fascinating adaptation that the deer family. The males the the Cervidae family members grow antlers. The caribou females likewise grow antlers.

Each spring, male deer and also bull elk begin growing antlers indigenous bony bumps on their heads. That takes an elk four or 5 months to totally grow a set of antlers. Antlers begin as layer upon layer the cartilage the slowly changes into bone. They are light and easily damaged until late summer once they completely turn into bone.

The antlers space covered with a thin skin called velvet. The velvet is spanned with fine, short hairs and also contains hundreds of blood vessels, which carry calcium and also minerals necessary for building solid bones. Once the velvet is gone, grooves and ridges top top the antlers mark the routes of veins that carried blood throughout the antlers.

An antler grows faster than any other sort of bone. That can thrive up to one inch a day during the summer. By summer"s end, a collection of elk antlers may be as much as 4 feet long, through a spread about as long and weight approximately 40 pounds. Bull elk melted their antlers every spring. The antlers loss off after being carried approximately for 6 or 7 months.

Adaptations: Foraging and Food


An elk has actually a special stomach come digest every the food that takes in. One elk"s stomach actually has four parts. Come understand how this “super stomach” works, imagine the “unchewed” food an elk eats sliding right into a huge chamber of the stomach. Here up come 15 pounds of food is stored. Part, however not all, the the food have the right to be damaged down.

Later, usually once resting, the elk regurgitates or brings that food ago up right into their mouth. This is known as cud. Chewing cud describes chewing more thoroughly the food that is brought ago up into the mouth. As soon as it is fully chewed, the elk swallows it again. The food corpuscle pass through the huge part that the stomach and also into a 2nd chamber for even much more digestion. Climate the food passes right into a third chamber whereby water is squeezed out and took in into the elk"s body. Finally the food passes into the fourth and “true” stomach wherein it is damaged down to the level the it deserve to be absorbed by the intestine.

Teeth also play vital role in the elk"s eat habits. Elk have sharp incisors for biting off plants and large and flat molars because that mashing plants. Molars heat both the upper and lower jaw, yet incisors happen only top top the lower jaw. Teeth help biologists identify an animal"s almost right age. A cross ar of an elk"s tooth will certainly show annual growth rings, similar to a tree.

Adaptations: Fleetness the Foot


Speed is high top top a list of survival needs for one elk. Out-running peril is one elk"s finest defense versus predators. One elk"s body is developed for speed. Their long legs room packed with muscles that space perfect for running. Elk room able to take it long, graceful strides. Before running from danger, an elk should sense the danger is near.

Adaptations: sensitive Senses


Elk have actually a great set the senses which they use to defend themselves and to interact with every other. Big ears aid the elk come hear any kind of noises that could indicate trouble. Eyes located on the political parties of your head help them to have actually a broader range of vision. They might not watch objects and also we do, however they room very great at detecting movement.

They can likewise detect danger and also food v their sense of smell. One of their most famous communication methods is their bugle call. The males usage this come warn the danger and also to discover a mate. The cows and the calves likewise have distinctive vocal sounds that they make. Visit the American exploration website for a possibility to listen the masculine elk call.

Winter Feeding


Rocky hill elk room one big game types that might be fed throughout a difficult winter. Winter feeding is a ax biologists usage to explain when people supply food come wild pets during the winter. Even if it is or not civilization should execute this has come to be a yearly discussion in Idaho. There room many problems to think about. Biologists understand that even if it is they space fed or not, part elk won"t endure until spring. Once considering winter feeding, the goal is constantly protection of the herd fairly than the individual animal.

Feeding may be necessary in some locations because it keeps elk far from exclusive property whereby hungry elk could reason a great deal that damage. One more necessary reason to feed is to keep animals off busy roads. In locations where winter range has been lost completely, feeding animals is essential to “save the herds.”


One of the defect of winter feeding is that the animals may involved depend on that every year. They will certainly stop moving to areas that have had enough food in the past. When animals are crowded together, such together in a winter feeding operation, illness can spread quickly from one pet to another. Winter feeding is also expensive. The type of feed is also important come consider. Deer that room only given hay deserve to actually starve to death due to the fact that their stomachs aren"t made to digest hay.

The Idaho department of Fish and Game"s policy on winter feeding is to only feed in emergency situations. They might step in to feeding in winters whereby abnormally high death rates are expected because of extreme winter conditions. Citizen committees have been developed to assist determine once feeding is appropriate. Every committee tracks snow depth, temperature, pet condition, depredation and also other factors to determine whether winter feeding is needed. Anyone enjoys see the elk in our state and also want to perform what is best for them.

Elk in History


Elk and people have lived in the very same habitat for hundreds of years. Ancient sites have offered us clues regarding how old peoples coexisted with elk.

Elk space painted ~ above rocks throughout archaeological sites in the western unified States. These pictographs countless have to be a type of communication among the people. Part pictographs, however, appear to it is in decorative.

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Native people worked hard to hunt elk. Castle took just what they needed and also used as much of the elk together possible. Elk detailed them with meat, weapons and also tools, toys and blankets. There is evidence that elk may have actually played a spiritual role in the lives of some tribes throughout the unified States.