Musk Ox
Classification

Kingdom:

Phylum:

Class:

Order:

Family:

Genus:

Species:

Animalia

Chordata

Mammalia

Artiodactyla

Bovidae

Ovibos

moschatus
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Mouseover to see an approximation of the
Musk Ox's habitat.
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Information


    Located

    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
    countries.

    Diet

    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.     

    Habitat

    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.          

    Reproduction

    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.    
Notes

  • Musk Oxen do not run from predators, mainly, wolves.  Rather, as a defensive posture they will form a circle
    around the calves and fight any invaders.
  • Males are extremely possessive of their harem of females.  A male with a harem will become very aggressive
    and drive other males away and possibly out of the herd.
(Ovibos moschatus)
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