Yak Amazing Facts

30 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Yak | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. Yak is a close relative of buffalo and bison. There are two species of yaks: mostly domesticated and some wild. These two differ in size and appearance. Wild yaks inhabit alpine meadows and steppes of central Asia.
  2. The yaks are domesticated for milk, butter, meat, wool, dung and leather.
  3. Yak’s coarse outer-hair is used in weaving ropes, belts and bags. The animal is also employed for pulling heavy farm machines and transporting large loads through the mountain passes. Yak milk is high in fat; hence, it is processed into cheese, yoghurt and butter.
  4. Over 90% of the world’s yak population of nearly 15 million lives on the Tibetan Plateau in the Himalaya region of south Central Asia, and as far north as Mongolia and Russia.
  5. The primary habitat of wild yaks consists of treeless uplands between 9,800 and 18,000 feet (3,000 and 5,500 m).
  6. A yak can climb an altitude as high as 20,000 feet, the highest elevation of any mammal’s habitat. The large lung capacity of a yak enables it to inhale lots of oxygen.
  7. Amazingly yaks do not thrive at lower altitudes, and begin to suffer from heat exhaustion above about 59 °F (15 °C).
  8. Also known as the “grunting ox”, yak has short, thick legs and humped shoulders.
  9. Domesticated yaks are smaller than the wild type. On average, wild male yak can reach height of 6.5 feet at the shoulder and weigh of 1000 Kg. Females are three times smaller than males.Their bodies can grow up to 11 feet in length and their tails can grow up to 2 feet and are very bushy.
  10. The male yak is known as “Yak and the female yak as “Nak” or “Dri”, by the Sherpas of Nepal.
  11. Yaks are herd animals. Herds can contain 10 to 100 individuals. The herds consist primarily of females and their young, with a smaller number of adult males.
  12. Yaks are herbivores (plant-eaters). They graze grass, herbs, lichens, wild flowers, moss and eat tubers on grassy plains in the mountains.
  13. Similar to other cow species, the yak has more than one stomach which it uses to successfully get all the nutrients out of the plants that it eats.
  14. Yaks have firm, dense horns which they use to break through snow in order to get the plants that are buried beneath it. They will also use their horns in defense. Horns in males are two times longer than in females and they can reach 40 inches in length.
  15. They have a dense undercoat covered by generally dark brown to black outer hair, which hangs down to the ankles, providing it warmth.
  16. In winter a yak can survive temperatures as low as -40 degrees (F). They can also swim in the nearly frozen waters without affecting normal body temperature.
  17. At night and in snowstorms, they will protect themselves from the cold by huddling up together, with the calves in the center.
  18. Mating season of yaks takes place during the September. Pregnancy lasts 9 months and ends with one baby. Female gives birth every second year.
  19. The female will find a secluded spot to give birth, but the calf is able to walk within about ten minutes and the pair will rejoin the herd.
  20. Mother takes care of the baby until it reaches the age of one year. After that period, young animal will become independent. The young yak will reach the size of adult animal 7 to 8 years after birth.
  21. Wild yak can survive up to 20 years in the wild. Domesticated yak can survive few years longer.
  22. Yaks are highly friendly in nature and there has been very little documented aggression from yaks towards human beings, although mothers can be extremely protective of their young and will bluff charge if they feel threatened.
  23. Yaks grunt and, unlike cattle, are not known to produce the characteristic bovine lowing (mooing) sound.
  24. It is believed that the strength of yak wool comes from the high levels of amino acids contained within the fibers. Yak wool is also very resistant to static electricity and garments are less likely to spark or cling to the body during dry conditions.
  25. Lamps in Tibetan monasteries are fueled by yak butter. Yak cheese has higher amounts of healthy fats than cheese from dairy cattle.
  26. The yak dung is dried and used as fuel in the treeless Tibetan plateaus.
  27. A major use for the yak’s coarse tail hair is to create fake beards worn by actors in Chinese opera.
  28. Yak bone is often made into exquisite handicrafts, including combs, buttons and ornaments.
  29. Historically, the main natural predator of the wild yak has been the Tibetan wolf, but brown bears and snow leopards have also been reported as predators in some areas.
  30. The wild yak is threatened by loss of habitat and also over hunting by humans. Wild yaks with gold-colored hair, known as Wild Golden Yak is considered an endangered, with an estimated population of just 170 left in the wild.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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