Since the Ovibos moschatus live in such extreme environments, they have had to adapt their ways tSkull of an Adult Musk Oxeno conform to such severe arctic temperatures. Their body is covered head to toe with fur except in-between the nostrils and lips (Elder 2005). Protruding out of their head are cream-colored horns. These horns synthesize together at the center of the head and drop down on both sides while curving up at the tips to create sharp hooks that grow with age (Muskox 2014). The horns function as protection against predators or other musk ox that want to head-butt as a sign of dominance (Elder 2005). They walk relatively low to the ground because they have adapted to have short legs to subdue to the cold.
Musk Ox showing the unique skirt
This animal specifically has two types of fur to keep it warm from the harsh climates all around (Angier 2010). The topcoat consists of guard hairs that protect against wind, precipitation, and insects. This is a long, dark, shaggy coat that looks like the animal has a blanket draped over it. This blanket like layer is so long that it brushes on the ground and is often referred to as a “skirt” (Muskox 2014). The second layer of fur on the Ovibos moschatus is called the qivuit. The qivuit is an underlying layer that insulates the musk ox like a winter coat. It is a lighter color where the guard hairs are shorter, usually on the back, and darker colors where it is lengthened, making it look like a saddle has been placed upon their backs. This layer sheds in the spring for the summer months but then grows back in the fall to withstand the arctic. Because of the heavy layers, this animal is easily capable of overheating. Although it is generally slow moving, the Ovibos moschatus can run up to 25 mph if challenged or threatened (Elder 2005).

Along with their horns and heavy coats, another way the Ovibos moschatus has adapted to the northern wintry would be the way it preserves its body fat for the winter (Gustine 2010). Since the winters can be harsh, they have to build up fat during the summer months because their vegetation isn’t as abundant in the winter (Gustine 2010). This is done to reassure that starvation won’t be a factor. Another reason the females preserve body fat is to supply more milk for their young (Elder 2005). Since the babies are born directly into the piercing cold, they have adapted to be birthed with brown baby fat. Brown fat is an alternative way to keeping the babies warm instead of just relying on their fur. It acts as an internal insulation by generating body heat to keep the animals from shivering.

                                   Habitat                                                            Reproduction