Elk vs Deer (Difference Between Elk and Deer)

elk vs deer

Elk and deer are hoofed animals that belong to the deer family. They both share many similarities, but at the same time, differ from each other in certain factors. In this article, we will thoroughly learn about the difference between elk and deer, their habitat, physical features, and facts about both the animals and compare them based on these parameters.

What Does An Elk Look Like?

An elk, also known as Wapiti, is among the most abundant species in the deer family. Some people do think that is an elk a deer? However, these animals are confused with moose by many people, but they do differ from them. These creatures range in color from brown in winters to tan color in summers. They have a buff-colored rump; however, their head, neck, belly, and legs are darker than their backs and sides. Only male elks have antlers that start growing in the spring and shed each winter. These antlers are made up of bone, covered with a soft layer of skin called velvet. 

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Where Does An Elk Live?

The elks are endemic to North America and eastern Asia. However, they have been introduced in countries like Argentina and New Zealand. The preferred elk habitat is forest and forest-edges. In winter they spend their time in the valleys between mountains whereas in spring and summer they move higher in the mountains. 

Source: Giphy

What is the Size of an Elk?

The male elk measures 4.9 feet at the shoulder and averaging 8 feet in length. At the same time, the average weight of a male is from 705 to 730 pounds. On the other hand, the females stand 4.3 feet at the shoulder and 6.9 feet from nose to tail. The average weight of females is between 496 to 531 pounds. 

What Does An Elk Eat?

The Elks are herbivorous animals, and their diet depends on the season. During the summers, they feed on grasses, sedges, flowers, and other soft plants, while in winters, they feed on woody plants such as cedar and red maple. However, they occasionally eat mushrooms. On average, an elk consumes 20 pounds of vegetation daily. 

Elk Reproduction: 

The mating season for these species is September and October. These animals live in groups where the males defend the territories and fight against another dominant male. The gestation period between the females is from 240 to 262 days. When the females are about to deliver, they isolate themselves from the main herd. The newborn offspring weighs between 33 to 35 pounds. The newborn tends to remain with their mothers for almost a year. 

Elks Facts:

  • The antlers of the males can grow to 3.9 feet long and weigh around 40 pounds.
  • Elks have a four-chambered stomach.
  • These are social animals who can live with the same gender herds of 10 to 20 individuals.
  • The primary elk predators are the packs of wolves and coyotes and the solitary cougar.
  • Elks are also called Wapiti, a Native American word that means ‘light-colored deer.’
  • A male elk can produce 22 to 40 pounds of antlers velvet every year.
  • This velvet is collected and traded in East Asia markets, where it is used as medicine.
  • The Rocky Mountain Elk is the official state animal of Utah.

How Long Does An Elk Live?

In the wild, elks can live between 10 to 13 years while in captivity they can survive for more than 20 years.

Are Elk Endangered?

The Elks are not endangered under the IUCN. However, their population is increasing and is widely distributed. These animals are held in captivity and are hunted as game species. 

What Does A Deer Look Like?

Deer are the Cervidae family members and are categorized as even-toed hoofed mammals with two large and two small hooves on each foot. The unique feature of these mammals is that they have antlers. Deer generally have compact bodies, long and sturdy legs. 

Where Does A Deer Live?

Most species of deer habitat in the forested and partly wooded areas, while some live in the grasslands, marshlands, and tundra. Different species of Deer are native to Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Northern Africa. But they are also introduced to Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

How Many Species of Deer Are There?

There are around 50 species of Deer, including elk, moose, reindeer, red deer, and white-tailed Deer, among others.

What is The Size of Deer?

Deer’s most abundant species can grow up to 6.5 feet from hoof to shoulder and can weigh around 1,800 pounds. However, the Southern Pudu is the smallest species that can weigh only 20 pounds and are about 14 inches tall. 

What Does A Deer Eat?

Deer are herbivorous animals, and they only feed on grasses, leaves, plants, fruits, and nuts. 

Deer Reproduction:

The breeding season in most deer species is short; in some species, the males establish territories that include one or more females. While some female species form small groups that had guarded and maintained by males. The gestation period is from 180 to 240 days. They generally had one or two offspring at a time and called fawns. However, some of the giant deer babies had also called calves. The fawn can stand in 10 minutes and can walk in 7 hours. A lack of scent protects the fawns. The young Deer live with their mothers for one to 2 years. 

Source: Giphy

Deer Facts: 

  • Deer have their eyes on the sides of their head, which gives them a 310-degree view. 
  • They have good night vision which is useful in the early morning and near dusk.
  • They also have a great sense of hearing and can hear higher frequencies of sound than humans.
  • Deer have excellent knowledge of smell which allows them to detect predators from a long-distance away.
  • They are social animals and travel in a group known as herds, which is led by a dominated male. 
  • These animals use three types of communication which is vocal, chemical, and visual. 
  • Deer’s primary predators are wolves, coyotes, lynx, pumas, jaguars, tigers, and foxes.

How Long Do Deer Live?

The average lifespan of a deer have considered from 10 to 25 years.

Are Deer Endangered?

Under the IUCN, some deer species such as Calamian Deer, Bawean deer, hog deer, Persian Fallow deer, and Chinanteco deer have considered endangered. 

What Does A Moose Look Like?

The Moose is the largest species of Deer that have recognized by long faces and muzzles that swing over their chins. Many people do not know the difference between moose and Deer and pretend they as similar. They have a pendant of fur-covered skin, which about 12 inches long, called a bell hanging from the throat. Their fur is typically brown or black, and their hair is hollow, which helps them keep warm. The male moose have antlers that can grow 5.9 feet wide from tip to tip. 

Where Does A Moose Live?

Moose can be seen in the northern regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. They can also be found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Russia, and Estonia. However, the preferred moose habitat is mixed deciduous forests in temperate and subarctic climates. 

What Is The Size of a Moose?

An adult moose can stand 4.6 to 6.9 feet high at the shoulders. The males usually weigh 838 to 1,543 pounds while the female weighs 441 to 1,080 pounds. From the head to the body, these animals measures 7.9 to 10.2 feet, where their tail adds another 2 to 4.7 inches. 

What Does A Moose Eat?

Moose are herbivorous animals and feed on a variety of plants and animals. These animals are not grazers but browsers. They have four-chambered stomachs, just like cows. Moose cannot digest hay, and feeding them with grass can be dangerous. 

Moose Reproduction:

The mating season between moose is September and October. After the gestation period in females is about 8 months, delivering a single baby called a calf. These calves proliferate and can run by the time they are just five days old. They live with their mother until the next young are born.

Source: Giphy

Moose Facts:

  • Moose are excellent swimmers and climbers and have known to eat aquatic plants.
  • They can run at a speed of 35 miles per hour. 
  • The hump on a moose back is due to the massive shoulder muscles.
  • Moose have poor eyesight but have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
  • Moose are solitary animals and do not live in herds.

 How Long Does A Moose Live?

The average lifespan of a moose is between 15 to 25 years.

Are Moose Endangered?

Under the IUCN, moose are not classified as endangered.

Elk vs. Deer: Fight Comparison

A fight comparison between elk and Deer is hard to imagine as they both belong to the same family, so it is impossible that they fight with each other; the same will happen in the case of elk vs. Moose. All three species belong to the same family, so they might not compete with each other. 

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