Elk live predominantly in the western portion of North America. During the winter, they spend most of their time in the valleys between mountains, where they feed on shrubs beneath the snow. In the warmer spring and summer months, they move higher up in the mountains to graze and give birth.
Elk are large mammals that are related to deer. They're typically between 4 and 5 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 1,100 pounds when mature. The typical elk has a lifespan between 8 and 12 years in the wild. Elk are herbivores, which means that they eat only plants. Their diets typically consist of grass, but in the winter months, when grass is scarce, they resort to eating shrubs and bark.
Elk belong to an order of mammals called artidactyla, which means that they have an even number of toes on each foot. Camels, goats and cattle are also in this family. Elk are tan-brown in color, with their undersides being slightly darker than their backs. The males have large antlers, which they use to fight and establish dominance over other males. During mating season, elk make loud bellowing noises. Females typically carry a single offspring per pregnancy, though twins do sometimes occur. Elk are pregnant for 240 to 262 days before giving birth.