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Musk Ox

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Musk oxen (Ovibos moschatus) are large, long-haired, horned mammals that are well-adapted to their cold, Arctic environment. They are found in the far north of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Siberia, and some Arctic islands.

Anatomy: The musk ox measures from 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) tall at the shoulder and weighs from 500 to 800 pounds (230 to 360 kg). Males are larger than females. Both males and females have horns, but the male's horns are larger and extend across the animal's forehead. The musk ox has a massive, low-slung body, very long fur, a huge hump on the shoulders, and hoofed feet.

Diet: Musk oxen are herbivores (plant-eaters) that graze on grasses, willow leaves, and some Arctic flowers. They are ruminants; they swallow their food without chewing it. Later, they regurgitate the food (called a cud) and chew it. Musk Oxen, like other ruminants, have a four-part stomach.

Behavior: Musk oxen travel in herds. The herd protects the young from predators, like wolves. When in danger, a herd will close ranks, with the musk oxen on the perimeter of the group facing outwards.

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