American Elk

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Want to get a closer look at our elk? Take a ride on the Woodland Express Train which passes through our North American exhibit as well as local wetlands.

Scientific Name
Cervus elaphus

Type
Mammal

Lifespan
Wild: 10-13 years
Captivity: 20 years

Size
4-5 feet at the shoulder

Average Weight
Females: 500 lbs
Males: 700 lbs

Group Name
Herd

Group Size
6-20

Name of Young
Fawn

We Eat:
We Live:
We Are:Common

Did you know?

  • American Elk are the second largest member of the deer family with moose being the largest. The males of one subspecies, called the Roosevelt Elk, may reach the weight of 1300 lbs.
  • Males begin growing antlers at around 11 months of age. The antlers may reach 5.6 feet across at full size and can weigh up to 40 lbs. Elk, like other deer, shed their antlers annually.
  • During the mating season male elk bugle and grunt. Females may respond to their calls with a barking noise. Males will roll in mud during the breeding season to become more attractive to the females.
  • Another name for elk is Wapiti. This word means “White Rump” in the Shawnee language.

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