There are different species of deer out in the wild. Among them are the moose, elk, caribou, and the reindeer. Some find it hard to differentiate one from the other as they all look quite similar. However, if you know what to look for and inspect close enough, you’ll find out that there are differences in appearance as well as in certain characteristics of the animals. Continue reading this article to ascertain the differences between the moose, elk, caribou, and reindeer.
|Flat, wide antlers||Tall, sharp antlers||Tall, curved antlers||Sharp and pointy antlers that can be covered in velvet depending on the season|
|Bulky face||Dark, shaggy necks||Usually has a white coat on its neck||Stocky with thick necks|
|Solitary animals||Travels in herds||Travels in herds||Travels in herds|
|Can be found in Canada and Alaska||Lives in mountainous forests in North America and East Asia||Found in North America, Europe, Asia and Greenland||Lives primarily in the Arctic|
The moose is the largest deer species in the world. It can easily be identified by its flat, wide antlers and bulky face. Moose can be found in Canada, Alaska and in the coldest regions in Europe. They are browsers, not grazers, and are solitary animals.
The elk is among the largest deer species, characterized by tall, sharp antlers, dark shaggy necks and pale rumps. They live in the mountainous forests in North America and East Asia. Elks usually travel in herds.
Caribou is a species of deer that has tall, curved antlers and a white coat on the neck. They usually travel in herds and are found in North America, Europe, Asia and Greenland. A caribou and reindeer are in fact the same animal (Rangifer Tarandus) with different continents using different common names for them.
The Reindeer is the most popular among the species of deer. It has sharp and pointy antlers and often identified by their stocky, thick necks. They travel in herds and live primarily in the Arctic.
The Mule Deer (Odocoileus Hemionus) is a deer indigenous to the Western part of the United States, its name comes from the large ears the animal typically has which are large like those of the mule.
The main differences between the moose, elk, caribou, and reindeer would be in their body size, as well as the size and shape of their antlers. All four of these animals are species of deer but among the four, the moose is the largest. The elk, caribou and reindeer are almost the same size. When it comes to the antlers, the moose is the most different since its antlers are flat and wide. The caribou’s antlers can be easily identified since they are tall and curved. The antlers of the elk and reindeer are somewhat similar. However, the reindeer’s antlers can be covered in velvet depending on the season.
Among the four, the moose is the only solitary animal, while the elk, caribou and reindeer often travel in herds. The moose and elk are browsers or selective feeders. Reindeer, on the other hand, are grazers or roughage feeders. The caribou is noted to be an intermediate feeder or mixed forager.
The moose can be found in Canada and Alaska, while elk live in mountainous forests in North America and East Asia. Caribou are found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Greenland, whereas reindeer live primarily in the Arctic.