How Big Are Musk Oxen?[Comparative Analysis ]

Musk Oxen usually are 4 to 6 feet tall and weigh around 400 to 900 pounds, depending on the sex. They are generally one-fourth the size of a grown giraffe. However, female Musk Oxen are smaller and less weighty than males.

A general observation is that a 500-pound musk ox is as heavy as a giant piano. Mind-boggling, right? Moreover, fossils show Musk Oxen were not always large. Instead, they adapted the massive build-up to survive the harsh arctic conditions better.

Want to know how and why Musk Oxen evolved in size? Then keep your calm and quickly dive into the details of this article!

What Is the Average Size of A Musk Ox?

I already mentioned that a Musk Ox stands 4 to 6 feet tall at their shoulder and weighs around 400 to 900 pounds.

According to Wikipedia, Male Musk Oxen are comparatively larger than females.

The size of male musk oxen =6.6 to 8.2 ft or 200 to 250 cm.

The size of female musk oxen=4.4 to 6.6 ft or 135 to 200 cm.

Moreover, they come with a small tail (concealed under a layer of fur) which is 3.9 inches/10 cm long.

musk ox

Besides these, if you are considering which is the biggest furry animal in the world, then I would say it is the musk ox ~ Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (Second Edition).

However, in the end, other factors like sex, climatic conditions, age, food availability, and inherited genes work at the back end and ultimately define their height and weight.

Are Female Musk Ox Smaller in Size?


Female Musk Ox are comparatively smaller and less muscular than male Musk Ox. They weigh nearly 400 to 600 pounds, while the male Oxen weigh around 600 to 900 pounds.

See also  Bison vs Musk Ox: Key Differences Explained with Photos

The prime reason why male Musk Oxen are larger than female is sexual dimorphism. This helps male oxen develop dominance over other males and compete during the breeding season. However, female oxen don’t have to compete.

Moreover, females allocate a significant amount of energy to reproduction and mating, thus, prefer to limit their size.

Female Musk Oxen reach sexual maturity at the age of 2, while males become sexually mature at the age of 5.

Is Bison Bigger Than Musk Ox?


Bison is a large herbivore native to North America and is commonly known as American Buffalo. It has a distinctive hump and a large, massive head with curved horns.


American Buffalo is typically larger and more muscular than Musk Oxen. It stands about 6 to 7 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs around 1000 to 2000 pounds.

Is Musk Ox Bigger Than Polar Bear?


Polar bears are large carnivores that measure around 8 to 10 feet when standing on their hind legs. On the other hand, Musk oxen are herbivorous mammals with 4 to 6 feet in height.

polar bear
An adult Polar Bear with cubs

Moreover, polar bears are counted among the apex predators that prey upon Musk Oxen when experiencing food scarcity.

Is Musk Ox Bigger Than Moose?


Musk Ox is not bigger than moose. In fact, they are way shorter. Moose is a solidarity animal counted as one of the largest land animals, with a height of around 6 to 7.5 feet on the shoulder level and a weight of 1000 to 1500 pounds.


On the other hand, Musk oxen are 1 to 1.5 feet shorter than moose and weigh around 500 to 900 pounds on average. 

See also  Can You Eat Musk Ox Meat? How Does it Taste?

Is A Musk Ox Bigger Than a Cow?

Musk Oxen are more or less comparable to cows in their size. Mostly, a cow measures 4 to 5.5 feet at the shoulder, while a Musk Ox measures 4 to 6 in height.

Apart from that, there are a few other differences between cows and Musk Ox. These include:

  • Cows are used for domestic purposes, while Musk Ox are used primarily for food purposes
  • Musk Ox are trained animals and thus far more intelligent than simple cows

Is Musk Ox the Largest Animal In The Arctic Tundra?

Definitely not!

Musk Ox are large herbivores and thus can be counted among the large animals of Arctic Tundra.

However, they are not the largest animals. Various other animals, way more massive and heavier than Musk Ox, exist.

These include:

  • Polar Bears (they are nearly 6 feet tall)
  • Caribou (they stand almost 4.6 feet in height)
  • Walruses (they are exceptionally tall marine animals, being around 12 feet in height)
  • Elk (they measure approximately 5 feet)
  • Moose (they measure about 6 to 8 feet at the shoulder)

Was Musk Ox Always Big in Size? See What Fossil Records Say!


Musk Oxen were not always big. Fossils records show that investors of fossils were as small as the size of deer. Some of the ancestors even weighed less than 500 pounds.

musk ox

However, with time, as the climate changed, the size of Musk Ox evolved, and they grew larger in an attempt to better adapt to the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Musk Oxen aggressive animals?


Generally, a Musk Ox is not considered an aggressive animal. In fact, they are known to be very friendly.

See also  How Do Musk Oxen Adapt to The Tundra?

However, if you make them feel threatened, they get aggressive and respond by forming a defensive circle called Musk Ox Ball

How many Musk Ox are there in the world?

A general estimate is that more than 1 lac Musk Oxen are present globally, distributed in regions like Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Sweden.

How big are Musk Oxen Horns?

Musk Oxen have long horns. Mostly, they are 20 to 30 inches long, and sometimes even more than that. The biggest horns reported to date are 39 inches long. These curved horns act as a weapon for defense against predators.

Final Verdict

All in all, Musk Oxen are large arctic herbivores ranging in size between 4 to 6 feet. Generally, male musk oxen are bigger than female ones due to sexual dimorphism.

Musk Oxen were not always big. Instead, this gigantic body and muscular build-up are one of their adaptations that evolved with time to survive the harsh arctic climate better.

Leave a Comment