Large male elk (bull) in snow covered meadow near Madison River. Only male elk have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 4 feet long and weigh up to 40 pounds. Antlers are made of bone which can grow up to one inch per day. While growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularised skin known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have fully developed. Bull elk may have six or more tines on each antler, however the number of tines has little to do with the age or maturity of a particular animal. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
, Cervus canadensis
Location: Yellowstone National Park
Image ID: 19751
Format: Digital 2:3
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