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Mammal. Wapiti (WAH-pe-tee) are usually called “elk” in North America. Because that name is used in Europe for a different animal (which is called a moose in North America), it is less confusing to call these beautiful deer by their Shawnee (Native American) name. Wapiti spend most of their lives in family groups (females and offspring) and form large herds of 100 or more during late fall and winter. A male wapiti's antlers will grow as long as 1.8 meters (6 feet) and weigh as much as 18 kilograms (40 pounds). Adult males weigh an average of 315 kilograms (700 pounds), and stand 1.5 meters (5 feet) at the shoulder.
Scientific Name Lifespan
Cervus canadensis 20 years
Herbivore. Grass, seedlings, twigs, berries, mushrooms, cattails, and wildflowers.
Predators and Threats
Bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, and humans.
Coastal forests, alpine meadows, dry desert valleys, and snowy mountain ridges; North America: Rocky Mountains from north-central British Columbia to southwestern United States.