Elks are a part of the deer family and are usually found in rainforests, rocky mountains, or deciduous forests. These animals are often confused with moose but, they are an entirely different species. Elks are social animals who love to be in the company of others of their kind and spend their time foraging and swimming.
Is your little one interested to know more about these huge deer? In that case, we have listed out 11 amazing elk facts for kids so that they can enjoy learning about these creatures.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Elks for Kids
Elks are loud animals whose populations have miraculously survived and gone up in number because of the various conservative methods undertaken by the government. They are also essential for the environment.
With that introduction out of the way, let us dive into some amazing facts about elks.
1. Elks are different from Moose
Moose and elks may look like the same animals from a sudden look, but that is not the case. There are a few features that distinguish these two animals.
The most obvious way is their surroundings. Elks love company and roam around with other elks, but Moose are solitary creatures and will normally be alone. Additionally, Moose is much larger than elks as they can grow to about 6.5 feet while elks grow between 3 to 5 feet.
Lastly, elks have elongated and pointed antlers, while Moose has flatter and broader ones.
In case you want to know more about Moose, you can check out our article here- 11 Amazing Moose Facts for Kids.
2. Only males have antlers
Just like their close relatives, moose, in the case of elks too, it is just the males who grow antlers. Their antlers are covered with a thin layer of velvety skin which starts coming off during summers or warmer seasons.
Males grow antlers during spring and shed them every year during winters. They also use them to fight amongst themselves and assert dominance. They also attract the attention of the females by doing the same.
3. Elks are the loudest members of the deer family
Deer are naturally loud animals, and when you say that elks are the loudest among them, it is quite the bold statement to make. Elks have a high-pitched roar, called bugling which they use to attract the females.
They also use loud sounds to make sure that the others are aware of their territories. No other animals are as vocal as the elks, especially of the same size.
4. They prefer colder weathers
The one thing that can be said about the elks is that they try to avoid the heat as much as they can. No matter where they are living, elks will prefer to roam about in the early mornings or evenings to avoid the sun.
This is probably because they produce a lot of heat because of their massive size and need to cool off frequently.
5. Elk chew their food like cows
Elks usually feed on grass and flowering plants, and they chew in a very peculiar manner. This is a way cows also chew food.
What they do is that regurgitate the food that they chew and re-chew it so that help them aid with digestion. They also graze in the same places just like cattle do.
6. Elks have stomachs with 4 chambers that aid in digestion
Did you know that human beings only have one chamber in their stomachs? But that is not the case for elks. Here is another fascinating fact about elks; they have four chambers in their stomachs!
This is another similarity with cows. The chambers are there to make sure that the animal can swallow a larger portion that can rather be regurgitated and re-chewed for better digestion.
7. Calves are kept hidden at birth
This is a behaviour that is unique to elks. They tend to hide their newborns in camouflaged areas to make sure that they are protected from predators.
The claves at birth are extremely vulnerable and lay motionless for sixteen days. They are also born with no scent so that the possible predators cannot figure out their location.
8. Elks are led by a strong female
Elks are extremely social animals. They love company, and you will usually find them in groups called herds.
The herd can consist of hundreds and sometimes even thousands of elks. Herds are usually matriarchal in nature and are controlled and run by a female. This is especially surprising because we do not usually see a lot of matriarchal groups in animals.
9. They can live longer than other species of deer
When it comes to deer, they usually do not live past ten to fifteen years. However, that is not the case for elks. They can live well past their twenties.
In fact, elks can easily live up to twenty-four years in the wild, and in captivity, they can live up to twenty-seven years if not more.
10. Elks are important in the restoration of the ecosystem
With their usual behavior of foraging and browsing, Elks play an extremely important part in the ecosystem. Typically, they chew on wild flowering plants, which helps stimulate and promote the growth of these plants.
This is because elks act as an active source of pollination for these plants. Their constant foraging also keeps a check on the overgrowth of these plants and shrubs.
11. Elks are known to be able to count till 10
It has been said that elks can count. There has been an experiment where they put a female elk, and she was made to choose between a male with nine pointed antlers and ten pointed antlers. It was seen that she almost chose the one with ten pointed antlers!
Different Types of Elk
There are various kinds of elks that can be spotted. There are not many differences between them but there are certain things that set them apart. Here are the following kinds of elks that we have listed out.
- The Roosevelt Elk: They are the largest of the four subspecies of elks and are usually found in California, Washington and Oregon. They live in dense, nutrient-rich coastal rainforests. These rainforests provide excellent food sources for these elks and also a cover from predators.
- The Tule Elk: They are the smallest of the subspecies of the elks are only found in marshes and deserts of California. They can survive extremely hot and arid temperatures.
- The Manitoban Elk: These are the second largest species of elks and they barely escaped extinction in the 1900s.
- The Rocky Mountain Elk: As the name suggests, these elks are found in mountainous areas and have the largest antlers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An elk, on average, weighs about 700 to 1000 pounds for a male and 500 to 600 pounds for a female.
Elks can run at a speed of 45 miles per hour.
Elks cover at least a dozen or more miles in a day.
The scientific name of the elk is Cervus Canadensis.
Elks are herbivores and that means they eat plants, especially flowering plants, shrubs and herbs.
During winters, elks commonly eat cured grasses, forbs, and chew the bark of the aspen trees.
Elks drink gallons of water per day.
It is believed elks used to have tusks like walruses, wild boars and elephants. As a result, two of the elk’s canine teeth are called ivory and are made of the same material as the tusks of other animals.
Elks are found in rainforests, prairies, aspen parklands, deciduous forests, and rocky Mountains.
Usually, elks live in the wild for 13 to 15 years. But there have been cases when they have lived past their twenties.
On average, an elk can be between 3 to 5 feet.
Elks can jump up to 8 feet.
An elk can smell anywhere between 100 yards and a mile.
Yes, elks are excellent swimmers.
Elks’ skin colour can change according to seasons. In mid-summer, they are reddish-almond which changes into honey coloured bodies and during winters they can be dirty blonde, beige or even lemony white.
Elks can see green, yellow and bluish colours. But they cannot see anything in shades of red.
Elks are usually active after sundown and they can see well in the dark.
No, only the male elks have antlers. The female don’t.
Elks shed their antlers annually at the beginning of winter.
Elks have the fastest growing antlers in the deer family and can grow up to 1 inch every day.
No, elks do not usually sleep at night. In fact, they sleep for a few hours every day.
Elk’s population is not under any threat as of now. They fall into the category of ‘Least Concern’ and are able to increase their population number thanks to conservative measures taken by humans.
That is it, folks! You have reached the end of the article “11 Amazing Elk Facts for Kids”. Hopefully, you and your little one learnt a thing or two about these animals. They are majestic to look at and play a very important role in conserving the ecosystem.