Rocky Mountain Elk

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Cervus elaphus nelsoni

DIETGrasses and forbs (summer); grasses (spring & fall) grasses; shrubs, tree bark and twigs (winter)

RANGENorth America - Rocky mountains and adjacent mountain ranges

HABITATOpen forest and floodplains in winter, deep forests and alpine basins in summer

Rocky Mountain Elk

The Rocky Mountain Elk is a subspecies of the North American Elk. They have the largest antlers of the six subspecies! Only male elk have antlers. Bulls (male elk) will shed and grow a new set of antlers every year. These new antlers are covered in a fuzzy skin known as velvet. The antlers will harden by late summer and the velvet will peel away. By early fall these antlers will be solid bone and can weigh around 40 pounds!

Diet: grasses and forbs (summer); grasses (spring & fall) grasses; shrubs, tree bark and twigs (winter)

An elk’s stomach has four chambers. The first is to store food. The remaining three chambers are to digest the food!

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