Elk: Facts (Science Trek: Idaho Public Television)

Elk: Facts

Elk are members of the deer family called Cervidae, which is region of a larger group of mammals called ungulates ( mammals with hooves ). In North America there are five species of cervidae : wapiti, elk, caribou, white-tailed deer, and mule deer. Of these animals, only caribou do not live in Idaho .
The average wapiti lives about 20 years. Adults, although rarely hunted by predators, might fall victim to bears, batch lions and grey wolves. The calves might be prey for coyotes or bobcats. They protect themselves by living in large herds of up to 400 in number .

Where Do They Live?

Elk Grazing
Elk once lived in many areas of the northern hemisphere, but excessive hunt and habitat end has limited their numbers in North America to largely the western United States and Western Canada. only Colorado and Montana have more elk than Idaho. Elk have been reestablished in areas of Michigan and besides introduced to countries such as Argentina, Chile and Australia, among others .
Elk need food, water system, shelter and space to survive. Elk live all across Idaho, but specially near large meadows where they graze on grasses and the leaves of shrubs and trees. They like meadows that are near forested areas where they can hide when necessary. Elk tend to remain in the trees during the day and venture into the meadows to feed at dawn and dusk.

Elk are herbivores. On average, an elk must eat about three pounds of food per sidereal day for every 100 pounds it weighs. This can add astir to 20 pounds of food every day ! Elk need enough of space, excessively. They need to be able to reach their food, water system, and shelter well without human interference. Elk need a healthy habitat and are affected by how many people live in and around that habitat .

Adaptations: Color and Coat

Elk have developed a count of adaptations to help them survive. The Shawnee Indians called the red deer Wapiti, which means “ white rump. ” This is because their hind conclusion tends to be ashen in color. An red deer ‘s coat tinge is any shade from tan to dark brown depending upon the season. Their necks and legs are normally darker than the rest of their bodies. Bulls ( males ) tend to be lighter in coloring material than cows ( females. ) Their color provides them with disguise .
In addition to helping protect the elk from predators, an elk ‘s coat helps keep it warm or cool depending on the season. twice a year, elk shed every hair on their body. Their spring shedding is detectable because old winter hair dangles like farseeing bushy beards from their necks and sides. By July their winter coat is wholly replaced by their summer coat. This coat has barely one layer of haircloth. Longer, dark hair begins appearing on their heads and necks erstwhile in early September. An wapiti ‘s winter coat is five times warmer than its summer coating. It consists of two layers — thick, long guard hairs and a dense addled flat coat. An elk ‘s ability to grow the coat it needs is a type of adaptation for survival .

Adaptations: Life Cycle

Bulls and cows are unlike sizes. Bull elk can weigh more than 700 pounds. A overawe red deer can weigh more than 500 pounds. Elk gather in herds that may range from 10 to 400 animals. Living in a herd helps them stay safe from predators .
Elk Clashing
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Migration, which is the seasonal worker motion of animals, is an important separate of elk life. During the spring, wapiti migrate to higher elevations in research of new plants, often following routes that they have traveled earlier. Elk spend their summers in the mountains where food is abundant and the temperature is cool. During the bounce and summer, male and female elk form distinguish herds. In the precipitate, snow in the high state gives elk the signal to head to lower elevations. The precipitate is wapiti mating season, known as the rut, when male and female herds shuffle. Bull wapiti will fight each other to gain control of a group of cow red deer known as a harem. They defend the district around their harem and herd the cows to keep them together .
Elk calves are born from mid-may through early July. typically a calf weighs about 35 pounds at birth and may gain up to two pounds a day for the following few weeks. A calf is able to stand on its own precisely 20 minutes after parturition. To help it hide from predators, the calf has spots for camouflage and no odorize of its own. The beget red deer will leave the calf hidden alone for long periods of time to prevent predators from locating the calf by sniffing out the scent of the mother. After about 16 days, the calf is ready to join the larger herd. The cows form a “ greenhouse ruck ” around the calves to keep them condom .

Adaptations: Antlers

Elk are known for their huge antlers. Antlers are a absorbing adaptation of the deer class. All males of the Cervidae class turn antlers. Caribou females besides grow antlers .
Each bounce, bull elk begin growing antlers from bony bumps on their heads. It takes an wapiti four or five months to completely grow a set of antlers. Antlers begin as layer upon layer of cartilage that slowly changes into bone. They are light and well damaged until deep summer when they completely turn into bone .
The antlers are covered with a thin skin called velvet. The velvet is covered with fine, short hair and contains thousands of blood vessels, which carry calcium and minerals needed for build strong bones. Once the velvet is gone, grooves and ridges on the antlers mark the paths of veins that carried blood throughout the antlers .
Antlers can grow up to one inch a day during the summer — faster than any other type of bone. By summer ‘s end, a set of elk antlers may be equally big as 4 feet long and 4 feet wide, and weigh up to 40 pounds. With a full hardening of antlers, a bull elk can stand 9 feet tall. Antlers are used both to attract females and to battle with other bulls to establish laterality during the fall rut. Bull elk shed their antlers every spring. The antlers fall off after being carried around for six or seven months.

Adaptations: Foraging and Food

Elk are ruminants, like sheep and cows. This means they digest and re-chew their food by means of a special four-part stomach. To understand how this “ super stomach ” works, imagine the “ unchewed ” food an wapiti eats sliding into a big chamber of the digest. here up to 15 pounds of food is stored. Part, but not all, of the food can be broken down .
later, normally when rest, the wapiti regurgitates or brings that food back up into their talk. This is known as chew. Chewing chew refers to chewing more thoroughly the food that is brought back up into the mouth. When it is completely chewed, the red deer swallows it again. The food particles pass through the large separate of the abdomen and into a moment chamber for even more digestion. then the food passes into a third base chamber where water is squeezed out and absorbed into the elk ‘s body. ultimately the food passes into the fourthly “ truthful ” stomach where it is broken toss off to the level that it can be absorbed by the intestines. Teeth besides play an crucial role in the elk ‘s eat habits. Elk have sharp incisors for biting off plants and flat molars for mashing plants. An red deer ‘s top two canine teeth are called ivories, and scientists believe that in the red deer ‘s ancient ancestors, these ivories were once actually tusks. Teeth serve biologists identify an animal ‘s approximate old age. A cross department of an red deer ‘s tooth will show annual increase rings, precisely like a tree .

Adaptations: Fleetness of Foot

speed is gamey on a tilt of survival needs for an wapiti. Out-running danger is an elk ‘s best defense mechanism against predators. An elk ‘s soundbox is built for focal ratio. Their long legs are packed with muscles that are perfect for running in long, elegant strides. Elk can run up to 45 miles an hour and can even beat horses in unretentive races. In addition, they can jump up to 8 vertical feet .

Adaptations: Sensitive Senses


Before running from danger, an red deer must sense the danger is near. Elk have a specify set of senses which they use to protect themselves and to communicate with each other. bad ears help the red deer to hear any noises that might indicate trouble. Eyes located on the sides of their question help them to have a wider range of sight and to sense movement. They can besides detect danger and food through their sense of smell .
elk communicate through versatile vocalizations. One of their most celebrated communication methods is their bugle call. During the capitulation, the males use this call to attract females, to advertise their seaworthiness, and to warn other bulls to stay away. The heavy of an red deer ‘s bugle cry can be heard miles aside. The cows and calves besides make distinct song barks, grunts and squeals. Visit the National Park Service Sound Gallery web site to hear elk calls .

Elk and People

Elk and people have lived in the same habitat for thousands of years. Prehistoric sites have given us clues as to how ancient peoples coexisted with wapiti .
Elk are painted on rocks throughout archaeological sites in the westerly United States. These pictograph may have been a kind of communication among the people. Some pictograph, however, appear to be cosmetic .
native people worked difficult to hunt wapiti. They took only what they needed and used as much of the elk as possible. Elk provided them with kernel, weapons and tools, toys and blankets. There is attest that wapiti may have played a religious character in the lives of some tribes across the United States.

today, people enjoy watching, hound, and photographing elk. Elk have hanker been a symbol of wilderness to people, and people want to do what is best for them. Although there were once millions of elk in North America, 100 years ago there were less than 50,000 red deer remaining, due to overhunting and habitat personnel casualty. Through skilled management by wildlife scientists, red deer numbers have increased and there are now about one million elk populate in the United States and Canada .
Winter Feeding, Idaho Fish and Game
Humans sometimes need to help elk herds survive by protecting their winter migration habitat. The National Elk Refuge in Wyoming provides chancel to thousands to elk every winter. In Idaho, red deer are sometimes fed by people during a difficult winter. Winter feed is a term biologists use to describe when humans supply food to wild animals. In areas where winter range has been lost to development, fertilize may be necessity to save the herds. Winter feed can besides help keep elk away from private property and interfering roads. however, one problem with winter feeding operations is that when animals are crowded together, diseases can spread well from one animal to another. besides, animals may come to depend on winter feed and stop migrate to areas where food can be found naturally .
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game ‘s policy on winter feed is to only feed in hand brake situations. They may step in to feed when abnormally high death rates are expected due to extreme point winter conditions. Biologists track snow depth, temperature, ravage, animal condition and other factors to determine whether winter feed is needed .

source : https://thefartiste.com
Category : Tech

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