Musk Ox
Status Low Risk
Diet Herbivore
To unlock the musk ox in challenge or campaign games, you must earn a 1/2-star zoo fame rating for your zoo.


  • The musk ox is a long-haired, dark-brown ruminant related to goats and sheep. The musk ox is found in northern Canada and Greenland and has been introduced into Alaska and other northern areas. An adult bull averages 1.9 to 2.3 m (6.2 to 7.5 ft) in length, stands 1.2 to 1.5 m (3.9 to 5 ft) at the shoulder, and has long, downward-curving horns with sharp, upturned tips; females are much smaller. Both sexes have a dense undercoat and an ankle-length outercoat for protection against the cold. The male emits a strong scent of musk when in rut, hence the name.
  • The musk ox travels in herds of 10 to 100. Its numbers have been drastically reduced and its range limited by humans, who hunt it for hides and meat. Efforts have been made to conserve the species, however, and it is now protected in Canada. The adults of a herd, when threatened, form an outward-facing circle with the young in the middle.

Fun Facts

  • Musk ox bulls have a gland under their eyes that leaves a musky odor when rubbed on branches of bushes or trees.
  • The musk ox has lived on Earth since the last Ice Age, rubbing shoulders with woolly mammoths thousands of years ago.
  • The undercoat of the musk ox, called qiviut, is as soft as cashmere and is believed to be the world's warmest fiber.
  • The Eskimos called the musk ox "oomingmak", which means "Bearded One."
  • Musk oxen gather in groups of 10 to 20, and form circles around their young when they sense danger.
  • The hooves of the musk ox are well-adapted to break through ice in order to reach fresh water.

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