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Other names: Grunzochse
Latin name: Bos mutus
size: up to 2m in height
mass: 300 - 700kg
Older: 8 - 14 years
Appearance: brown to black fur
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor)
food: Plant material, grass
distribution: Central Asia
original origin: Eurasia
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
natural enemies: Wolf
sexual maturity: about the age of five
mating season: September October
gestation: about 270 days
litter size: 1 cub
social behavior: Herd animal
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the yak
- The yak refers to one of five cattle species and is distributed in Central Asia. A distinction is made between the wild species, which is now on the list of endangered species, and the house yak held by humans in Siberia, Mongolia and the Himalayas.
- In the countries of Central Asia, the Hausyak is not only an important source of food, but also the only supplier of milk, leather and wool as well as an important load and transport animal. In many regions, the existence of people in peasant societies is largely dependent on the population of yaks. Even its faeces are used as valuable fuel.
- Because of the characteristic grunts made by the yak, it is also referred to as the Tibetan Grunzochse in German-speaking countries.
- Yaks can weigh more than 700kg and reach a height of up to two meters, with the cows being significantly smaller than the bulls.
- Yaks have a much broader chest compared to other types of cattle and a long torso and sharp hoof tips to find a secure footing on mountain slopes in the underground.
- The hump on the back of the yaks results from the spinous processes in the area of the cervical and thoracic spine.
- Yaks are extremely resistant to cold and frost due to their long dark coat, which consists of several layers and covers all body parts. Yaks find ideal living conditions in areas with average temperatures of no more than five degrees.
- Like other cattle species, yaks are grazing ruminants that feed on mainly a particular species of sour grass family with a high content of raw fiber material. However, lignified and prickly plant material as a source of food also serves them as extremely frugal animals.
- In contrast to cows or highland cattle, yaks consume far less food and water and eat barely more than two kilograms of plant material per day during the barren winter months. This results in these cattle strong season-dependent weight fluctuations. In the harsh winter months, a weight loss of up to twenty percent is not uncommon and hardly cause for concern.
- The yak herds exist outside the mating season only cows and male, not yet immature juvenile. In the group, yaks defend themselves together against attacking wolves and other predatory mammals and are therefore very rarely victims of their predators.
- The calves are much smaller in comparison to other cattle and are born after a shorter gestation period. This allows the cows to be very mobile until birth, but increases the risk of the young not surviving the first winter.