Domestic yak

At the Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is home to female domestic yak, Novus. She was born at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas in 1999 and arrived at the Zoo a year later. She is described by her keepers as smart and enjoys being groomed. She can be found in the Barnyard with the belted Galloway steer, Scottish Highland steer, miniature donkeys, Thoroughbred horses, pigs and other barnyard animals.

Equipped with a heavy build and sturdy frame, the domestic yak has humped shoulders, short legs and rounded hooves.  Both male and female yaks have horns. The horns of the male sweep out from the sides of the head and then curve forward with an upward tilt; they typically range from 19 to 39 inches in length. The horns of a female are smaller, only 11 to 25 inches in length, and have a more upright shape.

Scientific name: Bos grunniens grunniens
Continent: Central Asia
Habitat: The domestic yak is most commonly found in alpine meadows, alpine steppes and desert steppes.
Size: 11 feet in length; up to 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder
Weight: 670-1,210 pounds
Diet: The domestic yak is an herbivore, feeding on lichens, grasses and tubers.  Since a domestic yak's stomach cannot digest grains, it often moves to fresh pastures to feed.
Reproduction: Gestation eight months; single offspring
Lifespan: 23 years


In contrast from the wild form, the domestic yak makes frequent grunting noises and is therefore called the "grunting ox".