Reindeer Vs Elk

Reindeer Vs Elk: A Comprehensive Comparison

Reindeer and Elk are both majestic and fascinating species of deer, found in different regions of the world. They possess unique features and characteristics that make them stand out from one another. In this article, we will compare Reindeer vs Elk in terms of appearance, behavior, habitat, diet, and other features.


Reindeer are also known as caribou and are identified by their grayish-brown fur, white neck and rump patch, and impressive antlers. Male Reindeer can weigh up to 700 pounds and can grow antlers that are up to four feet long. Female Reindeer, on the other hand, can weigh up to 300 pounds and have smaller antlers than males.

Elk, also known as wapiti, are identified by their light-brown fur, majestic antlers, and a distinctive light-colored patch on their rump. Male Elk can weigh up to 1000 pounds and grow antlers up to five feet long. Female elk, known as cows, weigh up to 500 pounds and do not usually have antlers.


Reindeer are highly social animals that form herds with as many as 10,000 individuals. They are known for their impressive migration patterns, traveling up to 3,000 miles in search of food and water. Unlike other deer species, Reindeer have a unique adaptation – their hooves are specially designed to help them walk on snow and ice.

Elk are solitary animals that only form herds during the mating season. They are also known for their impressive migration patterns, where they travel over long distances in search of food and mating partners. During the mating season, male Elk engage in violent fights using their antlers to establish dominance and win rights to mate.


Reindeer are typically found in the arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe, Asia, and Greenland. They are well adapted to living in cold climates and can graze on lichens, mosses, and other plants that grow in the tundra.

Elk are typically found in North America and Asia, living in a variety of habitats ranging from forests to open meadows. They are herbivores and typically feed on grasses, shrubs, bark, and leaves.


Reindeer are known for their unique feeding habits that differ based on the season. During the summer months, they will graze on grasses, sedges, and other plants. In the winter, they will eat lichens, mosses, and other ground vegetation.

Elk are also herbivores and consume a diet that consists mainly of grasses, shrubs, and trees. During the winter months, when food is scarce, Elk will resort to feeding on bark and twigs.

Other Features

Apart from the characteristics mentioned above, Reindeer and Elk possess several other features that set them apart. For instance, Reindeer have larger lungs and a larger heart than other deer species, which allows them to live in high altitude regions. On the other hand, Elk have excellent senses of smell, sight, and hearing, which helps them detect predators and other potential threats.


1. Are Reindeer and Caribou the same species?

Yes, Reindeer and Caribou are the same species, but the terms are used interchangeably based on region and context.

2. Do both male and female Elk have antlers?

No, only male Elk grow antlers, while females do not typically grow antlers.

3. Can Reindeer and Elk interbreed?

No, Reindeer and Elk belong to different subspecies of the deer family and cannot reproduce with each other.


Reindeer and Elk are fascinating species of deer, each with unique features and characteristics that distinguish them from one another. Reindeer are well-adapted to living in cold, arctic regions and rely on their impressive migration patterns to survive. Elk, on the other hand, are herbivores that live in a variety of habitats and engage in violent fights during the mating season. Understanding the differences between these two species helps us appreciate and protect them better.