Have you ever been curious about the actual size of an elk? This friendly guide provides an elk size comparison that will satisfy your curiosity and more! It can be challenging to visualize the height or weight of an animal without witnessing it in person; that’s where this guide comes in handy.

We’ve designed this guide to offer helpful comparisons that will give you a better understanding of an elk’s size in relation to everyday objects or other animals such as moose, horses, and deer. So, if you’re intrigued to learn about the dimensions of an elk, keep on reading!

Types of Elk and Their Sizes

Elk are among the largest deer species, with 12 subspecies spanning across North America and Asia. However, two subspecies, the eastern elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis) and Merriam’s elk (Cervus canadensis merriami), have become extinct. In North America, there are only four extant subspecies.

Here’s a list of the 11 remaining subspecies, including their scientific names:

  • Alashan wapiti (C. c. alashanicus)
  • Kansu red deer (C. c. kansuensis)
  • Sichuan deer (C. c. macneilli)
  • Manitoban elk (C. c. manitobensis)
  • Tule elk (C. c. nannodes)
  • Rocky Mountain elk (C. c. nelsoni)
  • Roosevelt elk (C. c. roosevelti)
  • Altai wapiti (C. c. sibiricus)
  • Tian Shan wapiti (C. c. songaricus)
  • Tibetan red deer (C. c. wallichii)
  • Manchurian wapiti (C. c. xanthopygus)

The Roosevelt elk claims the title of the largest elk species, residing in the United States. Mature bulls can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds on average and stand over 5.5 feet tall at the shoulders. This height doesn’t even account for their remarkable antlers!

On the other hand, the Alashan wapiti is the smallest elk subspecies, native to remote regions of China. Although research on the species is limited, it is still significantly larger than most other deer species.

Human vs. Elk Size Comparison

Elk, belonging to the deer family, Cervidae, are much larger than most people realize. Imagine an average American woman, who stands at 5’4″. An adult elk’s shoulders would be at her eye level, and that isn’t even considering its neck, head, and antlers, which can measure up to four feet tall.

Taking into account their antlers, elk can reach a staggering 9 feet in height. This makes them significantly taller than an average American man, who is usually 5 inches taller than the average woman. In terms of weight, elk can be 8 times heavier than an adult human, who typically weighs between 150 and 200 pounds. That’s equivalent to the combined weight of several people in a camping tent!

Now, let’s consider the elk’s antlers, which can be four feet tall on their own. That’s like having an eight-year-old child sitting atop their head – quite the impressive display! The antlers play a crucial role during the rut, a period when male elk, or bulls, bugle and compete for dominance and the attention of female elk, called cows.

Moreover, these giant creatures, with their size and strength, attract not only hunters during elk hunting season but also predators like bears and wolves. Despite their size, elk calves are more vulnerable to predation, and young male elk, known as spike elk, also face challenges in the wild.

In summary, comparing a human’s size to an elk’s truly highlights the substantial difference between these two species, from height to weight, as well as the role size plays in their captivating lives.

Moose Vs. Elk Size

Moose are one of the largest mammals in North America, and they are indeed larger than elk. An adult moose can stand as tall as 6’9″ at the shoulders, which is nearly two feet taller than an elk and even taller than basketball legend Michael Jordan. This measurement doesn’t even take into account their impressive antlers, which can span up to 50 inches wide compared to an elk’s 48 inches.

In terms of weight, moose also have an advantage over elk. Just the antlers of a moose can weigh around 40 pounds more than those of an elk, which is equivalent to the weight of 4 gallons of paint. Moreover, a moose can weigh up to 300 pounds more than an elk. To put that into perspective, the difference in weight is similar to a refrigerator! So, when comparing size between these magnificent creatures, moose from regions such as Canada and Alaska, definitely have the upper hand over elk.

Horse Vs. Elk Size

Elk and horses share some similarities in size, making them an interesting comparison. A horse typically stands between 4.8 and 5.7 feet at the shoulders, which is similar to a fully grown adult elk. However, the largest recorded horse, a shire named Mammoth, was over 7 feet tall, about a foot and a half taller than an elk.

Weight differences between horses and elk can vary quite a bit. Horses usually weigh around 900 pounds at their heaviest, making them around 200 pounds lighter than the smallest elk. Mammoth, on the other hand, weighed over 3000 pounds, more than double a Roosevelt elk’s weight, and over 50% larger than the largest recorded moose.

In terms of length, horses and elk are strikingly similar. On average, both animals have a nose-to-tail length of approximately 8 feet. This information can help you visualize the length of an elk when standing near a horse.

The diet of horses and elk consists of various grasses, shrubs, and leaves, providing them with the necessary nutrients to maintain their size. While horses primarily consume plants, elk can also eat bark and occasionally meat. Both animals rely on plants and leaves as a significant part of their nutrition.

Whitetail Deer Vs. Elk Size

When comparing the size of whitetail deer and elk, you’ll notice a significant difference. Whitetail deer, often found across North America, are relatively smaller in both height and weight compared to their elk counterparts.

A fully grown adult whitetail deer stands around 2.9 feet tall at the shoulders, which is nearly two feet shorter than an elk. It’s comparable to the height of a golden retriever!

In terms of weight, whitetail deer are much lighter than elk. It would take about twelve whitetail deer to equal the weight of one elk, showcasing the striking disparity between these two species within the deer family.

Here’s a quick comparison between them:

  • Whitetail deer:
    • Height: Approximately 2.9 feet at shoulders
    • Weight: Varies, but significantly lighter than elk
  • Elk:
    • Height: Around 4.9 feet at shoulders
    • Weight: Can weigh as much as twelve whitetail deer combined

These size differences, coupled with other distinguishing features such as the shape of their heads and fur patterns, make it easier to differentiate between white-tailed deer and elk as well as other species in the Cervidae family like red deer and mule deer.

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