Musk Ox Facts
|Size||Up to 5 ft (150 cm) (shoulder height)|
|Weight||Up to 881 lb (400 kg)|
|Food||Grass, willows, berries|
|Predators||Wolves, bears, polar bears|
|Habitat||Canada, Greenland, Alaska|
|Scientific name||Ovibos moschatus|
|Characteristics||Thick, shaggy coat|
Musk Ox are large, heavy ungulates that live in Canada, Greenland and Alaska. Of all mammals, they have the longest coat. Because of their appearance, musk oxen were thought to be a mix of bovines and sheep for a long time. But the shaggy quadruped is closely related to goats and belongs to the group of the goat-antelopes (the term is a bit misleading, because they have nothing to do with true antelopes).
How Does a Musk Ox Look Like?
It is quite astonishing that you even can perceive the musk ox in its thick coat. It covers its entire body apart from its hoofs, horns, lips and nostrils. And there is not only one coat but two, as it is really quite cold at -68.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-56 degrees Celsius).
The Musk Ox Fur
The coarse and rigid topcoat is called guard hair and up to 24.4 inch (62 cm) long. But what really keeps the musk-ox warm and cozy is his 3-4 inch (8-10 cm) thick undercoat. It is very, very soft (even softer than cashmere!) and eight times as warm as sheep’s wool.
Its Wool Also Keeps Other Animals Warm
Musk oxen are permanently losing parts of their “underwear“ – particularly during the summer, when they get rid of their entire underfur. Little songbirds such as snow buntings or Lapland buntings collect the wool to pad out their nests. Musk oxen are very kind animals.
Enemies and Threats
Musk Ox vs. Brown Bear - How Wins?
It’s getting serious when a brown bear appears on the scene. Who will survive? Musk oxen trudge through their small grounds of about 0.77 square miles (2 km2) in little herds of 5 to 15 animals. If an animal of prey approaches the group, the adult oxen form a circle and thus protect the babies within.
Sometimes a musk ox even leaves the circle (which is closed again very quickly by the others) to boldly attack the enemy. The musk ox uses its head like a battering ram to attack the animal of prey. It picks up smaller animals of prey such as wolves with its horns and throws them into the air so that they break their bones when falling down on the ground.
Are Musk Ox Dangerous Animals?
If the musk ox lowers its head and presses its nose against its knee, it is getting dangerous. This is the warning signal before an attack. By the way: During this action, a gland on the nose secretes the famous sweet musk odor.
The Musk Ox Is Related To:
- Mountain Goat
Animals in the Same Biome:
- Watch Now on animalfunfacts.net:
- All About Mammals
- How Do Animals Survive in the Arctic?