Muskox have several physical characteristics that allow them to survive in the Arctic climate.
Muskox Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Ovibos moschatus
Muskox Physical Characteristics
White, Dark Brown
133,914 – 136,914
20 years
Top speed
37 mph
400lbs – 900lbs
Muskox Distribition

” A male muskox can consider as much as 900 extra pounds.”

Musk oxen have physical adjustments that enable them to reside in the severe Arctic environment year- round. They are herbivores consuming turf, origins, blossoms, lichen, moss, and various other plant. Musk oxen reside in teams called herds. These huge animals can meet twenty years.

5 Amazing Muskox Truths!

  • These animals have a dual layer of hair. The woollen layer of hair beside their skin is called qiviut
  • These animals utilize their solid hoofed feet to go into the icy ground for turf and plants expanding on the expanse
  • They are much more carefully pertaining to goats and sheep than oxen
  • A male musk ox’s horns are attached and develop a browband, or manager, on its head
  • Numerous musk oxen survive nature protects so they are safeguarded

Muskox Scientific Name

Ovibos moschatus is the scientific name for a musk ox. The Latin word Ovibos indicates sheep- ox and moschatus indicates musky. These animals are called Oomingmak (facialed hair- one) by the Inupiaq individuals in Alaska.

Musk oxen come from the Bovidae family and remain in the Mammalia class.

Both subspecies of musk ox consist of:

  • Greenland Musk Ox
  • Barren Ground Musk Ox

Muskox Appearance & Actions

Musk oxen have a dual- layer coat of lengthy dark brownish hair. Some musk oxen have a layer that is so dark it looks virtually black. They have a layer of woollen beside their skin and a leading layer of long, guard hairs that obstruct wetness along with the wind. Both males and females have 2 horns along with 4 durable unguis. A male’s horns are bigger than a female’s horns. In addition, the horns of a male musk ox develop a browband, or manager, on the top of its head. A male’s browband is bigger and thicker than a female’s browband. This animal has a bulge on the top location of its back.

Male musk oxen have to do with 5 feet high at the shoulder while females have to do with 4 feet high. Males consider from 600 to 900 extra pounds while females consider from 400 to 500 extra pounds. A 900- extra pound musk ox considers concerning the like a grown-up horse. A 500- extra pound female musk ox is fifty percent as hefty as a grand piano! A 5- foot- high male musk ox is one- 4th the elevation of a grown-up giraffe while a 4- foot- high female is 2- thirds the elevation of a fridge. The document for the lengthiest horn of a musk ox is available in at simply under 30 inches.

The physical adjustments of a musk ox enable it to make it through in the severe environment of the Arctic expanse. One physical adjustment of this animal involves its hoofed feet. They utilize their hard unguis to damage and dig via the ice to locate turf and various other plants. Additionally, their durable unguis enable them to stroll on the ice and snow for months at once without injuring their feet. If you look carefully, you’ll see the musk ox has eyes with straight students. The style of their eyes offers security from the sunlight’s glow as it mirrors off the snow and ice. This is very important, specifically due to the fact that these animals are constantly looking for predators.

Musk oxen reside in teams additionally called herds with approximately 18 participants. Staying in a herd functions as some security frompredators Grown-up musk oxen have the ability to kick at predators with their hoofed feet and attempt to strike them with their durable horns. Or else, musk oxen are easy animals till the breeding period gets here and males start to complete for the focus of females.

Muskox - Ovibos moschatus - in natural habitat

The Thick Layer of the Muskox

The dual layer of a musk ox permits it to reside in its cold, gusty setting. Their leading layer of guard hairs drives away water, snow, and wind. The layer beside the ox’s skin is made from light woollen called qiviut. This layer aids to maintain the musk ox cozy. Musk oxen dropped their qiviut, articulated kee- vee- ut, in the cozy summertime. It expands back once more with the strategy of the winter season.

Muskox Environment

Muskox are located in Alaska, Greenland, Canada, Russia, and Norway. They survive the Arctic expanse throughout the year. This environment has cold temperature levels and a layer of snow and ice in the winter season. In the summertime, there is a boost in the plants offered and temperature levels are warmer.

In the winter season, musk oxen transfer to greater altitudes consisting of hills where it’s a little less complicated to fetch plants from underneath the snow and ice. The snow is much less deep on hills. In the very early springtime and throughout the summertime, they reside in river valleys where they forage near a stream or river.

Muskox Predators and Risks

Arctic wolves are all-natural predators of musk oxen. Grizzly bears have actually additionally been understood to assault musk oxen.

Wolves move the setting in packs and track a herd of musk oxen from various instructions. If they can obtain the herd relocating, the wolves interact to divide a calf bone or older ox from the herd. A grown-up ox can protect itself with its horns or by kicking with its effective hoofed feet. A wolf that is kicked by a grown-up musk ox is most likely to be seriously wounded or perhaps eliminated. This is why wolves generally pursue calf bones or older, much less effective oxen.

A single Grizzly bear might pursue a calf bone or an older musk ox if the herd is relocating. Nonetheless, though a Grizzly bear is a huge and effective animal, it is still outpaced by a herd of grown-up musk oxen placed in a circle, securing their calf bones.

Modifications in environment are a risk to musk oxen. These adjustments can lead to lowered plants development.

Humans are one more risk to the musk ox. They are looked for their meat along with their qiviut. The good news is, there are currently searching legislations in some locations that shield musk oxen from being looked for their meat, horns, and so on. Additionally, most of these animals survive nature protects where they are safeguarded.

Regardless of these dangers, the conservation status of the musk ox is Least Concern with a steady population.

Musk oxen are herbivores consuming various kinds of plants throughout various periods of the year. They accumulate their body fat in the summer season to trend them over when plant isn’t as plentiful throughout the winter months. This approaches a polar bear developing fat throughout the cozy weather condition months. However, a musk ox does not hibernate!

What do musk oxen eat?

In the summer season, musk oxen eat turf, blossoms, forbs, and sedge. In the winter season, their diet consists of origins, lichen, and moss.

What consumes a Muskox?

The predators of musk oxen consist of Arctic wolves and in some cases Grizzly bears. Grown-up musk oxen are a lot bigger than Arctic wolves and they can protect themselves with their horns. So, wolves generally assault their calf bones or older oxen.

Musk oxen develop a physical circle their calf bones to shield them when they’re being tracked by Arctic wolves. This is in some cases called, ‘circling around the wagons.’ When musk oxen type this safety circle, it might encourage a pack of Arctic wolves to carry on and locate one more herd.

On top of that, some individuals quest musk oxen for their meat, their horns or both.

Muskox Reproduction and Life-span

Reproducing period for musk oxen starts in late summertime and faces fall. Male musk oxen launch a musky scent throughout breeding period which is exactly how this animal obtained its name. Males complete for females in the herd by billing each other and slamming horns with each other. They can in some cases perform at each various other at rates of as much as 25 miles per hour! Ultimately, among the males ends up being broken and relocates away. Though this is a really loud and effective program of hostility, the male oxen are generally not harmed.

The gestation duration of a female musk ox has to do with 8 months. She offers real-time birth to one child additionally called a calf bone. Often female musk oxen bring to life 2 calf bones, yet that’s a really uncommon incident. A calf bone considers around 20 extra pounds at birth yet put on weight rapidly with each passing day. Musk ox calf bones are standing and relocating with the herd a hr after they are birthed. This makes good sense due to the fact that a calf bone that gets on the ground or relocating gradually is specifically vulnerable to assault by wolves. An infant ox registered nurses from its mom for the very first 8 months of life. Calf bones are discouraged at concerning 10 months old and can live individually at 2 years old.

Musk oxen can live for as lengthy as twenty years.

Muskox Population

According to the IUCN Red Listing, the complete population of the musk ox is in between 133,914 and 136,914 fully grown people. In regards to the area:

  • An approximated 75,400 fully grown people reside in the northwestern regions of Canada
  • An approximated 3,714 fully grown people reside in Alaska
  • Around 9,500 to 12,500 musk oxen reside in Greenland
  • Around 35,000 survive the Arctic islands

The conservation status of the musk ox is Least Concern with a steady population.


  1. Wikipedia, Available here:
  2. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Available here:
  3. Britannica, Available here:

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