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Elk are found in open mountain forests and valleys in western North America. They have a life span of about 8 to 12 years in the wild.
Anatomy: The elk is up to about 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) tall at the shoulder. They weigh from 325 to 1,100 pounds (147-500 kg). Males are much larger than females. Only bulls (males) have branching antlers (which are shed and re-grow each year) and a shaggy mane. The largest elk antlers are about 4 ft (1.2 m) long. Elk have hoofed, two-toed feet, long legs, thick brown fur, and a large body.
Behavior: The elk is an herbivore (a plant-eater) and a spend a lot of time browsing. Elk eat grasses, shrubs, tree leaves, and herbs. Elk are ruminants (they store partly-chewed food, and later regurgitate it and thoroughly chew it).
Predators: The grizzly bear, mountain lion, coyote, and man are the main predators of the elk.
Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Artiodactyla, Suborder Ruminantia, Family Cervidae (deer, elk, moose, etc.), Subfamily Cervinae (elk, fallow deer, etc.), Genus Cervus, Species C. elaphus.
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