Most people who lymph both deer ( Cervidae ) and Elk as the same category. But they are not actually that both of the species are quite different from each other. Both of them have different lifestyle and their adaptations are also not similar to any of the basic references. Here we will reveal all the facts that will make you sure about the differences in them. There are interesting aspects to know about them ( Elk vs Deer ) and then you will make a clear difference in these two different species. 

Physical Characteristics of Deer 

Deer is an amazingly different species as compared to the elk. There are some physical aspects to measure for making differences in both of them. These measures include:

Physical Appearance of Deer 

Deer has a long body with long legs. They have coats on their bodies with various shades. These shades include brown, but most of the species have perfectly white fur according to their arctic environment. Every species has males with velvet-covered antlers. These antlers are shed every year and renew naturally. On the other hand, in some species females are also with antlers like male species. 

Physical Adaptations Of Deer

Deer are adaptive according to their environment. They have a body coat with hairs on it. This hair is hollow which is very helpful to keep them insulated from a cold environment. The color of their coat is changed every season. This change helps the deer to better camouflage. In addition to it, their spotted coat with fawns is very helpful for hiding on the forest floor easily. Deer can be easily found on every continent including Antarctica. 

What Includes in its Diet?

Usually, deer are herbivores because the grasses, shoots of trees, sedges, leaves, acorns, nuts, and other woody plants include in their diet. But they can also eat fruits and berries to meet the needs of their diet and nutrition. On the other hand when all these food items are scarce then they can also live by eating barks of trees. But on very rare occasions when the entire mentioned foodstuff becomes vanish; they can also eat eggs and checks of all the ground-nesting birds to live. Because they cannot find any other food item that is needed as their normal diet.

Habitat and Life-Span 

Most of the deer ( Cervidae ) like to live in Grassland and Tundra biomes. Because they love to live in green and greasy environments. Most of the deer species are at risk of being distinct. Because they have to face challenges regarding their environmental factors. Moreover, a number of predators are the main cause of their life to be in danger. The life span of a deer falls from 10 Years to 25 Years normally. This time period may also vary from species to species.

Size and Weight of Deer 

Sizes of deer are varying from species to species as some are very tiny in size and some are humongous. The weight of deer is also different individually. As the weight of a Southern Pudu is about 6KG with 14 inches in length and goes on the increase when getting mature. It is the smallest of the family. While the weight of the Moose is almost 820 Kg with a length of 6.5 inches at the full maturity level and it is the largest of the family. 

Physical Characteristics of Elk

Elk ( Cervus Elaphus ) is quite a different species as compared to deer. It belongs to a family of deer. Shawnee was an American Native who called them ‘’Wapita’’ for the very first time. It means a deer with white or pale color. Then early English colonists use the name ‘’elk’’ for the large deer. 

Physical Appearance of Elk 

With a reddish hue, elk have thick and brown fur. In the animal’s rump patch, there is a circular area around its tail. Its color is like a cream color or buff. Almost 4ft long antlers are present in males. These antlers are quite different from horns because they have been made up of bone. These antlers shed every year naturally. 

Physical Adaptations of Elk 

Elk are very adaptive to their environment. They have thick and very smooth fur on their body as a coat. It keeps their body warm and keeps them safe and sound from harsh winters in the mountains. There is no need to worry if an elk has done something with his horn because it can grow again naturally. Elk have well-developed dark necks during the season of winter. It contrasts excellently with its tan or light brown body color.

What Includes in Elk Diet?

Elk is an herbivore. Because it grows up by grazing grass, leaves, small branches, and shrubs. When grazing, they just take foodstuff in the early morning and late evenings. They properly search a scheduled area to chew and digest their cud during the bulk of the day. As an average estimate, an individual elk can consume 20 lbs of vegetation per day.

Habitat and Life-Span 

North American elk are the most adaptive to survive in a wide variety of ecosystems. These elks are not found in the Tundra and gulf coast or grass. They mainly prefer to live in the forest edges and forests. They particularly live in mountainous regions. Many of the subspecies prefer to live and are adaptive in dense forests with smaller antler sizes. Some other suitable habitats include scheduled valleys, alpine meadows, and prairies.  The average lifespan of wild elk is almost 10 years to 13 years.

Size and Weight of Elk 

The size of a male nearly exists about 5ft long at the shoulder and its average weight is almost 700lbs. And can grow much larger. But the largest species can have 1,300 lbs. Their mass ranges from 320 – 330Kg for mature ones. Its length is almost 2.4 m for the mature one and 2.1m in length from nose to tail. 

Also Check: Elk Vs Moose.


It is concluded in all the above discussion and details that both species are quite dissimilar and belongs to the same family. But their physical appearance, habitat, size, weight, diets, and adaptations to environmental factors are quite different from each other. Both of them have different lifespans and physical appearances all over. They are found in different places and ecosystems. They look different and can be easily recognized when seen both at the same time and same place.