Irish elk with antlers lowered in a snowy woodland

Irish elk

Despite its name, the Irish elk was found all across Europe and Asia, and in North Africa, and is technically a deer rather than an elk. It is famed for the size of its antlers, which spanned up to 4.3m and weighed 45kg. Irish elk fossils are found in large numbers in Ireland's peat bogs and many are of males that suffered from malnutrition, which suggests they lived a life much like today's red deer spending each autumn fighting for the right to mate. The Irish elk's skeleton suggests that it was an endurance runner that could wear out predators without tiring itself.

Scientific name: Megaloceros giganteus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Giant deer,
  • gigantic horn

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Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Irish elk distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.