Hear them roar.
We’re talking about the rut (aka ‘to roar’). The period of time in the fall when ungulates (as well as several other species including the elephant) enter mating season.
- Ungulates participate in the annual rut, but other species, such as skunk also partake in the ‘roar’.
- Most rutting species rub their antlers against trees or bushes, dust themselves in wallows and even rub urine on their necks to attract females and to promote their dominance.
- The rut is mainly triggered by the shorter days as the autumnal equinox shortens daylight.
- Hunters, as well as other wildlife observers believe that the full moon in the fall months signifies the beginning of the rut.
- Sparring is one of the main events during the rut. Animals such as deer, elk and bighorn use their antlers/horns and strength to push a competitor to instigate a fight for dominance (ranging from mild to full aggression).
- During the elk rut, the dominant bull elk gather numerous females together in a group, called a harem.
- When bighorn rams clash, the noise can be heard for miles away, but their thick skulls mostly prevent any serious injuries to the animal.
- Bull moose rub their paddles (antlers) against trees and shrubs to signify their dominance and to attract females.
- Deer often spar only to ‘feel each other out’, not to establish dominance.
- Bison can lose up to 200 pounds (up to 12% of their weight) during the rut as they lose grazing time tending to the females and promoting their dominance.
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