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Muskoxen Facts

March 28, 2013
Muskoxen in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve Muskoxen in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (NPS photo).

Scientific name: Ovibos moschatus;

Inupiat Eskimo name: Omingmak (the bearded one);

Animal type: Mammal;

Estimated world’s population: 80,000 to 125,000;

Current range: Endemic populations in Arctic Canada, Greenland, and the USA; populations were re-introduced to Alaska, and other populations introduced populations to Sweden, Siberia and North-east Russia, and Norway.

Historic range: Fossil evidence show that muskoxen lived across the Arctic from the Urals to Greenland;

Name: Derived from the strong odor emitted by males;

Diet: Herbivore, feed on roots, mosses, and lichens in the winter, flowers, berries, shrubs, and grasses in the summer;

Mating season: Late June – early July;

Pregnancy duration: 8 months;

Average life span: 12 to 20 years;

Size: Height at shoulder, 4 to 5 ft (1.2 to 1.5 m);

Weight: 500 to 800 lbs (227 to 363 kg);

Group name: Herd;

Danger of predations from: Arctic wolves, grizzly and polar bears;

Last Updated: March 29, 2013