Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Ovibos moschatus


Distinguishing Features - A large hoofed mammal. Height: 90 - 150 cm; length: 1.9 - 2.5 m; weight: male 260 - 400 kg, female 170 - 300 kg. Overall colouration: dark brown shaggy hair hanging nearly to feet; grayish saddle mid-back; whitish lower legs. Large head; humped shoulders; large brown horns on both sexes, curving downward close to sides of head, then out and up near pointed tips; female's horns shorter and more slender, also more curved.

Muskox Habitat

Northern part of Northwest Territories and islands; small, introduced semi-domesticated herds in Alaska; arctic tundra; in summer, grassy river valleys, lakeshores, and meadows with willows and heath plants; in winter, windswept hilltops and slopes where vegetation is exposed.


Browser and grazer; willow, tundra grasses, sedges and forbs.


The Muskox was hunted during the 19th century for their meat and hide; for a time herds were drastically reduced on the mainland. Recent population estimates place the species at 40,000 individuals.

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