Rocky Mountain elk Cervus elaphus nelson
Order Artiodactyla Pigs, deer, pronghorns, sheep, goat, bison, elk, caribou
- main axis of foot directly between 3rd and 4th digits
- ankle bone has both ends rounded
- premolars simpler than the molars- last molar usually 3-lobed
- Selected families below are all cud-chewing ruminants with no upper incisors. All have complex 4-chambered stomachs that break down plant cellulose, enabling them to graze or browse for a long period, and then retire away from predators & midday heat for the time-consuming cud-chewing and digestion:
Family Cervidae Elk, moose, caribou, & deer (antlers shed every year; usually only on males)
Larger than deer, smaller than moose.
Summer: reddish tan color, with buff-colored rump.
Winter: dark brown with a shaggy mane hanging from the neck to chest.
Social: Live in herds much of year; use distinct summering & wintering areas.
Bull (male) elk have large spreading antlers, shed annually in late winter.
Food: Spring-Summer: grazers of grass, sedges, flowering plants.
Food: Fall-Winter: browsers of shrub & tree branches; all graze on grass