Eurasian Elk – Profile and Information

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The Eurasian elk is recorded as the largest and heaviest Swedish mammal, and amazingly, it is today comparatively common all over the country.

Notwithstanding, Eurasian elks were severely hunted two hundred years ago, to the point where only a small population of the animal remained and fighting to survive in the central parts of Sweden.

Presently, most moose are found in Alaska, Canada, New England, Russia, Fennoscandia, and Baltic states.

The Eurasian elk can be distinguished by its broad, palmate (open-hand shaped) antlers on the males, while other members of the deer family possess antlers with a twig-like (dendritic) configuration.

Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Class: Mammals (Mammalia)
  • Order: Even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla)
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Family: Deer (Cervidae)
  • Subfamily: Capreolinae
  • Genus: Alces
  • Species: Alces alces
  • Subspecies: A.a. alces

Physical description

Size

Male Eurasian elks are larger than the females and could weigh from 380 kg to 650 kg, and adult elks can stand up to 4.6 to 6.9 ft (1.4–2.1 m) high at the shoulder.

The largest confirmed size for the Eurasian elk was a bull hunted at the Yukon River in September 1897, and it weighed 820 kg (1,808 lb).

The bull also measured about 2.33 m (7.6 ft) high at the shoulder. There’s also been a report that there are bulls that are even larger than the Yukon River bull.

Ecology

The Eurasian elk can be found all over Sweden except the island of Gotland. The elk prefers forest facing wetlands. The clear-cutting of forestry is practiced by Northern Europe.

This helps to provide healthy sources of seedlings, and this practice is very favorable to the elk.

The Eurasian elk, Unlike most other deer species, don’t form herds and are very solitary animals, aside from calves who stick with their mother until she begins estrus (Common at 18 months after birth the calf), at which point the young bull is chased away by the cow.

Habitat

The Eurasian elks are herbivores and would eat many types of fruits and plants. Elks require habitat with abundant edible plants (e.g., young trees, pond grasses, and shrubs), protection from extreme hot and cold weather, and cover from predators.

Their diet also comprises twigs, herbs, twigs, shoots, barks, and seedlings of various trees. They often feed on junipers, young pines, and spruces during winter.

The Eurasian elks are cold-adapted animals with tough skin, dense, and heat-retaining fur, which maximizes their tolerance for cold, but they have poor tolerance for heat.

To maintain their body weight, the average adult elk need to consume about (40.9 MJ) 9,770 kcal each day.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Eurasian is 15 to 25 years.

Conservation Status

Almost near extinction, with complete legal supervision and protection, the Eurasian elk was saved following strict hunting rules during the late 1800s.

The population of the Swedish elk today consists of approximately 400,000 animals. Fall every year, at the annual hunt, 25 percent or 100,000 of the elk population are shot.

Predators

The most common moose predators of the Eurasian elk are the humans, bears, and gray wolf.

Reproduction

A male moose is referred to as a bull, while the female is known as a cow, while a young or immature elk of either sex is known as a calf.

The bulls create shallow holes in the soil during rutting; he then urinates in the hole then roll in it. The Eurasian elk’s gestation period is eight months, and young cows would naturally only give birth to one baby.

Notwithstanding, there have been countless cases of mothers birthing twins and even triplets.

Temperament

Although the Eurasian elk is generally slow-moving and docile, they can become aggressive and move quickly if threatened or startled.

Male elks typically engage in energetic fights to compete for mating partners.

When talking about raw numbers, elks have attacked more people than wolves and bears combined, but the good part is, the people they attacked usually escape with minor consequences.

Interesting facts about the Eurasian elk that you need to know

  • Only male elks have impressive antlers.
  • Every winter, the antlers are shed, and they grow back once it’s spring.
  • Male elks will have either of two varieties of antlers: the more twig-looking dendritic antlers with longer tunes or palmate with small tine and flatter portion.
  • The elk is the largest living deer.

I hope you enjoyed the information in this article. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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