In the middle of the night at Yellowstone National Park, two giant bull elk are caught on video fighting for the affection of the females in the group.
Yellowstone officials have released the video to warn park-goers that it is rut season. Rut season can be hazardous to humans that can find themself caught in the crossfire. Animals have also been known to occasionally turn aggressive. The season begins in August and can run until October. The male elks will show off their strength to win the honor of a large herd of cows for breeding.
“In the fall, bull elk battle for access to cows and challenge other males during the rut. They also charge cars and people who get too close. Always stay at least 25 yards away from elk,” writes Yellowstone National Park on their website.
The fight begins with slow movements to show off each of the competitor’s large antlers. Although the exchange looks dangerous, park officials say that the bucks are rarely injured. However, losing an antler is not uncommon. The fight continues until one bull bows out of the competition. Other male elk may look on and get frustrated at watching the exchange. These bulls will join in to fight the ‘stud’ for his females.
Elk Behavior in the Fall
Fall is the only time of the year this kind of behavior is exhibited.
In the statement, park officials write, “usually, the bulls at this time of the year are in more rugged, less accessible country, while the cows, calves and younger animals will use country that is closer to roads and human activity.”
“In the summer, cows, calves and yearlings usually run in large herds, while bulls are either solitary, or run in pairs or trios,” the national park writes.
The statement continued, saying, “in winter, the separation is even more evident as bulls run in large bands, called bachelor groups, and the cows, calves and immature bulls run in herds that can number several hundred or more.”
This display of strength happens at all times of the day and can last for hours at a time.
[H/T Daily Mail]