8 Fun Facts on the Yak
- There are two types of yaks – The wild yak and the domestic yak. The domestic Yak is smaller and its coat is less furry, but more diverse in color than the wild yak. The domestic yak is used for fur, meat and transportation. The wild yak is much larger and its fur is much longer and shaggier than the domestic yak. A large population of domestic yak remains, but wild yak are few due to loss of their habitat and extensive hunting.
- The yak lives in a highly elevated habitat – The yak lives in Tibet and parts of China. It can survive in the Himalayas at an altitude as high as 20,000 feet, which is the highest elevation of any mammal’s habitat. They are able to live at such high altitudes because they have a large lung capacity allowing them to inhale lots of oxygen.
3. The yak has an internal heater – The yak’s digestive system allows food to digest at a temperature of 104 degrees F, keeping it warm even in extremely cold conditions. This is just one of the many ways that yaks are able to survive in their very cold habitats, which is addressed in the next fact.
4. The yak likes a cold bath– Apart from the yak’s inner heater, it has developed many ways of braving the cold and is able to withstand temperatures of – 40 degrees F. At this temperature, the yak has even been seen bathing in lakes and rivers. The yak’s warm coat provides insulation through a thick outer coating of long hair and a dense inner coating of matted, shorter fur.
5. Don’t fight a yak – The yak has very large, thick horns that can reach a length of 40 inches in male yaks. These horns are primarily used to break through thick ice and dig beneath snow in order to obtain the foliage found underneath it. The horns can also be used as a fighting mechanism, in which the yak will move his head from side to side, wielding his horns at the enemy.
6. Yak Cheese is good for you – yak cheese contains high levels of healthy fats including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids, but has a reduced total fat content when compared to cheese made from cow milk such as cheddar cheese. This is due to the yak’s food intake of grasses and shrubs, which are a better source of fatty-acids than industrial grain. Plus, yak cheese tastes really good!
7.Yak Dung is used as fuel – It is very hard to accumulate wood in the high mountains of the Himalayas and the government protects many of the wooded areas that do exist. Therefore, Sherpa villagers routinely gather yak dung from trails in order to fuel fires. The dung is dried into patties and then placed into customary small iron stoves. Surprisingly, the dung does not smell and is able to achieve very hot temperatures.
8. Yaks are huge creatures – The male wild yak can reach up to 6.5 feet high at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 2200 pounds. Wild female yaks are up to a third of the male’s size. Domestic male yaks are much smaller in size and weigh up to 1,300 pounds while domestic female yaks weigh up to 560 pounds.
A Short Educational Video on the Yak
More on the Yak
- To see more educational videos on animals click here!
This site has the cutest videos on animals. I love the one with the monkeys dancing...too cute!
- Yak Facts - Yampa Valley Yaks
More Yak Facts!
- Tibetan Yak Cheese (8 Ounce) by igourmet.com review at Kaboodle
Buy Yak Cheese: Tibetan Yak Cheese (8 Ounce) by igourmet.com review and product info.
- Save a Yak's Life - Joru Foundation
The Yak is the most important animal for Tibetans. Saving a life is the most important compounded act of virtue. Save a Yak's life today through the Joru Foundation and have all the proceeds go towards providing an education for a deserving Tibetan.