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Musk Ox
(Ovibus moschatus)


    The Musk Ox can be found in various locations
    throughout northern Canada, Greenland, Alaska, Norway,
    Sweden and Russia.  At one point they were eradicated
    in Alaska, Norway, Sweden and Russia, but have since
    been successfully re-introduced to some areas in those


    Musk Oxen are vegetarian and will eat much of the
    vegetation that is available in the tundra.  This includes
    willow shoots, lichens, grasses and shrubs.     


    Musk Oxen are roaming animals that live in herds.  A
    herd will often remain in a certain range where it will have
    access to food and water, and will roam within that range
    throughout the seasons to locate those resources.      

Size and Description

    Musk Oxen will reach lengths between 6 and 7.5 feet and
    have a shoulder height between 4 and 5 feet.  Their
    weight can vary from 400 to 900 pounds.  Musk Oxen
    have an outer coat made of long, brown hairs and an
    inner coat called qiviut which consists of wool.  This is a
    special adaptation that helps the musk ox survive the
    freezing temperatures of the tundra.  Males and females
    have horns that meet near the center of the skull.  Males
    will grow an additional "boss" across the horns.  Musk
    Oxen have glands that produce a strong, musky odor
    that gives the Ox its name.          


    The rut or mating season for Musk Oxen begins in late
    summer and early fall.  Males will compete for
    dominance over a harem of females, and a single male
    will mate with several females.  The gestation or
    pregnancy period will then last approximately 8 months
    and the female will give birth to one calf in the spring.    
IUCN Status:
Least Concern
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Ovibus
Species: moschatus
© Photographer: Vasiliy Koval
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