Fun Facts about Elks for Kids

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.

Fact 2 Male Elk Antlers

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.

Fact 4 Elk prefer colder weathers

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)

How much does an elk weigh?

An elk, on average, weighs about 700 to 1000 pounds for a male and 500 to 600 pounds for a female.

How fast can an elk run?

Elks can run at a speed of 45 miles per hour.

How far do elk travel in a day?

Elks cover at least a dozen or more miles in a day.

What is the Elk’s scientific name?

The scientific name of the elk is Cervus Canadensis.

What do elk eat?

Elks are herbivores and that means they eat plants, especially flowering plants, shrubs and herbs.

What do elk eat in the winter?

During winters, elks commonly eat cured grasses, forbs, and chew the bark of the aspen trees.

Do elk need water every day?

Elks drink gallons of water per day.

Why do elk have ivory teeth?

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.

Where do elk live?

Elks are found in rainforests, prairies, aspen parklands, deciduous forests, and rocky Mountains.

How long do elk live in the wild?

Usually, elks live in the wild for 13 to 15 years. But there have been cases when they have lived past their twenties.

How big do elk get?

On average, an elk can be between 3 to 5 feet.

How far can elk jump?

Elks can jump up to 8 feet.

How far can elk smell?

An elk can smell anywhere between 100 yards and a mile.

Do elk swim?

Yes, elks are excellent swimmers.

What colour is an elk?

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.

Can elk see colour?

Elks can see green, yellow and bluish colours. But they cannot see anything in shades of red.

Can elk see well in the dark?

Elks are usually active after sundown and they can see well in the dark.

Do all elk have antlers?

No, only the male elks have antlers. The female don’t.

How often do elk shed their antlers?

Elks shed their antlers annually at the beginning of winter.

How fast do elk antlers grow?

Elks have the fastest growing antlers in the deer family and can grow up to 1 inch every day.

Do elk sleep at night?

No, elks do not usually sleep at night. In fact, they sleep for a few hours every day.

Are elk endangered species?

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.

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