Musk ox Facts

Musk ox Facts
Musk ox is a type of cloven-hoofed mammal that belongs to the bovid family. It can be found in the northern parts of North America and Eurasia. Musk ox inhabits cold Arctic tundra. Unlike mammoths and saber tooth cats, musk oxen managed to survive end of the last Ice Age. Musk oxen were massively hunted in the past because of their meat, hide and horns. Thanks to strictly defined hunting policies, population of musk oxen managed to recover (more than 100.000 animals exist in the wild). Even though they are currently numerous, musk oxen can suffer from the climate changes in the future.
Interesting Musk ox Facts:
Musk ox can reach 4.4 to 8.2 feet in length and 400 to 900 pounds of weight.
Musk ox is covered with long, thick wool that can be dark brown or black colored. Wool on the legs, face and back is lighter in color.
Musk ox has short undercoat, also known as qiviut, that is used for the manufacture of one of the most luxurious and warmest yarns on the planet. Quviut is shed each spring. People either collect it from the wild or obtain it from the captive animals.
Musk ox has large, stocky body, short legs with large, rounded hooves and short tail. Both males and females have broad, curved horns that grow their entire lives.
Musk ox uses large front hooves to break the ice and reach the water hidden below.
Musk oxen were kept in the captivity because of their incredible strength. Musk oxen are capable to pull the weight that exceeds their own body weight. They were used for transportation of heavy cargo over the rugged terrain in the past.
Musk ox is herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet is based on moss, lichen, roots, flowers and grass.
Musk ox lives in herds that consist of 10 to 20 animals. When they are threatened, musk oxen form a circle around the youngest members of the herd and use their deadly horns to protect them.
Natural enemies of musk oxen are polar bears, wolves and humans.
Males secrete musky substance (hence the name musk ox) from the glands located underneath their eyes to attract the females.
Mating season takes place from July to September. Males collide with their heads at the speed of 30 miles per hour to establish dominance and get opportunity to mate.
Males have thick bony plate on top of the head and air pockets inside the head. These morpho-anatomical structures prevent injuries of the head and brain during the fights.
Pregnancy in females lasts 8 months and ends with one calf. Most babies are born during the April. Calves are able to follow their mothers few hours after birth.
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 years, males at the age of 5 to 6 years.
Musk ox can survive 12 to 20 years in the wild.

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