What Do Elks Eat? A Broad Perspective On Elk’s Diet

What Do Elks Eat

When we talk about the largest terrestrial mammals of deer species, then Elks come to our mind.  These are from the cervidae family of deer.  Particularly in North American regions and northeast Asia, these mammals are the largest ones found in these regions.[acf field=”Schema”]

We can easily estimate the greatness of these animals, that these animals can reach the length of 2.4 metres from the shoulders.  And their average weight goes up to 3:30.  These figures are for the male Elks.

 Meanwhile, the female adult Elks are almost 2.1 metres tall and their weight goes up to 240 kilograms.  Shortly after listening to these figures, you will be wondering what do elks eat?

 So in this article, we will be throwing light on this aspect and disclosing all the major lines of food that elk species prefer.  So if you want to know about their diet and food consumption rate stay with us till the last line.

 What Do Elks Eat?

 Let us first clear you with this aspect that Elks are herbivore animals.  It means they only eat vegetation or plant-based materials.  However, they have a very large variety of food as their preferences.  Up next we will be sharing a complete list of foods that Elks eat.

 So without any further ado let’s see what else consumes and what are their food habits when they are in their natural habitat.


Elks are seen as grazing animals. Generally, Elks graze all day long and eat grasses.  There are different species that elks like as their food source.  For example bluegrass, wheatgrass, bromegrass, fescue, and bunchgrass are their favourite ones.

 Elks are very shy animals and if they encounter humans or any kind of disturbance, they will stop grazing.  And after a few minutes, you will observe them fleeing away from that place. So if there is a question in your mind, do elk eat grass?  Definitely yes elk love to eat glasses throughout the year.

Tree Leaves

 Elks have very good height and they can easily reach the plant leaves.  Plant leaves are the ultimate choice of every herbivore.  The first reason behind that is tree leaves are full of nutrition.  Secondly, they are very soft and easily digestible to the stomach of the animal.

 In this regard, Elks also love tree leaves of different tree varieties. Among them are aspen, chokecherry, Cottonwood, red alder, vine Maple, willow, Rocky Mountain Maple, etc.

 Elks rely on tree leaves as their main food source.  Because these tree leaves are easily accessible to them. So if we say do elk eat apples?  Elks eat apples as well as the leaves of the apple tree

 Flowering Plants

 As we know Elks are fond of a variety of food.  Among these different types of foods, they also like to eat different flowering plants that are present in their natural habitat.

And eight different types of shrubs that are present on the ground near different trees.  Mainly they eat sumac, ocean spray, red twig dogwood, elderberry, huckleberry, serviceberry, wild rose, snowberry, and many more on the list.


 Interestingly, Elks also eat mushrooms. And it is one of their favourite foods in the summer season.  They love mushrooms like crazy that wherever they find wild mushrooms, they will eat them up.

 Unfortunately, wild mushrooms are not considered a very good food source for elks.  The main reason behind it is these wild mushrooms are not compatible and relative to other types of food that Elks eat.

Read More About : Do Elk Eat Meat?

 Bushes And Sprouts

 As mentioned earlier elks loved to graze. But elks only enjoy these bushes and sprouts in the spring season.  Elks eat all sorts of bushes and sprouts.  Sometimes it’s also like leguminous plants as their food source.

 Mainly Elks go for a variety of food such as clover, fireweed, yellow salsify, sweet color, etc. Elks also love to eat alfalfa particularly when it is the arrival of spring season or summer.


When we talk about supplements, these are basically for female Elks.  These supplements are very helpful in maintaining the water and mineral concentration in the body.  And this ultimately helps in the proper and healthy growth of their body.

Do you want to know if elk eat corn?  Elks eat corn and they like it very much.  People who keep them on their forms feed them with corn and corn plants.

Food Consumption Variety of Elk

 No doubt, elks eat different types of plant-based food. Their food preferences change from season to season. As we are dealing with the subject, what do elks eat?

In summer when the food availability is very good they like to eat soft plant parts for example leaves, twigs bushes etc. On the other hand in winters they sometimes have to eat tree bark as their food.  The main reason behind it is the scarcity of food in winters.

For Extra Reading: Elk Vs Deer

 Feeding Nature of Elks

 As a matter of fact, Elks are truly shy animals. And they do not like to face humans or any other organisms who disturb them.  In this regard, it is very difficult to feed them.

 If you want to keep these animals in your form and want to feed them, the first and foremost thing is to develop a good level of trust. If you have raised them, there are chances that they will become tame.  Otherwise, these animals are not very comfortable with human interaction.

If you want to feed them, then simply place the food near a waterhole or any other comfortable place so that they can eat it without any disturbance.  Additionally, if you also want to observe Elks while feeding, you must hide somewhere.

 Also, Elks should not smell the natural scent of humans.  If so they will not come near the food and eat it.  A very frequently asked question by people is do elk eat Moss?  Yes, elk prefer this soft green material in spring and summer.

 Feeding of Baby Elks

 Baby Elks are called calves.  The female Elks usually give birth to only one calf at a time.  The average weight of a baby elk is 14 to 18 kilograms.  When baby Elks are born they stay with their mom for almost 60 days.  In this time period, they learn how to eat and what are their safe food consumption sources.

 Baby Elks prefer to eat grass and leaves as they are soft food.  Do elk eat Willow trees?  The baby Elks eat the leaves of Willow trees. Moreover, they also eat leaves of other plant species.

Unhealthy Food For Elks

 There are many foods that are dangerous for the health of Elks.  Particularly if you are feeding them, you might not understand which food is better for them.  In this way, there are chances that their digestive system gets disturbed.

 For example in winters when they eat the harsh bark of trees, it upset their stomach.  Moreover, there are also some plant-based materials, for example poisonous mushrooms and shrubs.  These are also not good for Elks.

 Do Elks eat meat? It is a misconception among many people that elk eat meat.  This information is completely unauthentic and they do not eat meat of any kind.  Elks are herbivores and their food source is also only from plants.


 What do Elks eat?  We have almost completed our discussion on this question.  These animals have large body mass and they completely rely on plant and plant-based materials for their food source.  Mainly they consume different species of grass, leaves, twigs, branches, mushrooms, mosses, and also sometimes lichen.

In winters these animals eat the bark of the trees.  They switch to it because of the inadequate quantity of food in their habitat.

 Elks possess many Interesting facts and there are a lot more things to know about these animals.  We hope that you have caught the answer to all the questions in your mind.  Still, if you have any queries let us know for further information about them.


Q1. Do elk eat fruit?

 Yes, elk eat different kinds of fruits, but they are not mainly included in their diet.  To couple with, they like to eat leaves of different plant trees and also flowering plants in their natural habitat.

Q2. How much quantity of food does elk eat?

 Elks are large animals and they need a sufficient amount of food to fill their appetite. According to an average estimation, for every 45 kilograms of their body weight, they need 1.4 kilograms of food.

 Let’s see if an elk is around 227 kilograms, then it needs 7 kilograms of food per day.  Similarly, if the weight is round about 363 kilograms.  Then the amount of food is 11 kilograms each day.

Q3.Do elk eat rabbits?

 Definitely not, Elks are from dear families and they are herbivores.  They prefer to eat different species of grass such as plant leaves, twigs, mushrooms, shrubs, and some fruit.

Related Post:

Elk vs Caribou


Similar Posts