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Elk (American)

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Cervus elaphus
Elk (American)


American elk are found in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada.


Elk are found in many habitats, from deep forests and rocky slopes to alpine meadows and mountain ridges.

Body Traits

They have a grayish coat with a lighter colored rear end. Males can weigh up to 1000 pounds, while the females only reach 600 pounds. Male elk grow large antlers that can weigh 30 pounds. They lose them in early spring after mating season.


During mating season, in the fall, male elk “bugle.” Their bugle is a shrill call to round up their “harem” of females. They travel in herds of up to 25 elk.


Elk eat grass, twigs and bark.


Predators are mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears and man.

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Each female has 1 young in late May to early June. They are pregnant for 8.5 months (gestation).

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status

They live up to 15 years in the wild. They are listed as Lower Risk - Least Concern.

Elk (American)


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Cervus
Species: Cervus elaphus

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