Muskoxes in Dovrefjell Nationalpark
Muskoxes in Norway
GENERAL INFO: The Muskox is a large animal with a big head and a broad snout. Both sexes have horns, but the male horns are wider than those of the female. The have a long haired coat, with hair up to 70cm long. The coat covers the ears and tail, and in the winter the hair even covers the hooves. During the summer the hair is dark brown and in the winter it's black-brown. Between April and June the muskox will lose it's thicker winter coat.
The muskox weighs between 225 en 400 kilo's. The males are larger than the females. They can run as fast as 60 km per hour. They are known to be able to attack humans unexpectedly if you come to close. So, unless you can run faster, I'd keep a distance of at least 200 or 300 meters!
The muskox lives in North-America, Greenland and North-Russia, but, since this annimal has been imported, also in Norway (Dovrefjell Nationalpark). And several can be found in Sweden. These are muskoxes that have moved from Norway to Sweden and spreaded there.
BEHAVIOUR: Muskoxes are "day-time" annimals. They live together in groups (20 to 100). During the summer they live together in groups of 10 (female) annimals, lead by an older male. During the winter they live in "mixed" groups of 50 annimals. The distance between the summer- and winterareas can be as far as 80 km. They feed on twigs, grass, blueberries etc. The maximum age they can reach is 23 years old. Their natural enemy is the wolff. When they sense danger they will gather around the calfs to protect them of danger.
REPRODUTION: The mating season is in july and august. The males will fight each other during this season. They will run towards and than against each other at 40 km an hour over a 50 m distance. The head-butts can be heard as far as 2 km away. Between april and june the calfs will be born. Usually 1 calf is born per female per season. It is rare for two calfs to be born.
muskoxes and calfs in Dovrefjell Nationalpark
MUSKOX SAFARI: In the area of Dovrefjell Nationalpark there are several agencies that offer muskox safaris. Of course you can go to Dovrefjell Nationalpark yourself and hope you will see them (as I did), but honestly said, there isn't a big chance you'll meet them on your own. I saw them when I went to Snøhetta (a mountain in Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella national park (Oppland, Norway). As I came back from the mountain they where along the road near the parking area. This was in August 2006.
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