Information about: Yak

Index | Yak

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Yak. A ruminant mammal related to cattle and sometimes known as the grunting ox of Tartary. It inhabits the highest and coldest regions of central Asia pasturing near the snow line which it follows, dcscending to lower levels in winter and reascending to the highest mountain meadows in summer. The yak is about the size of the domestic ox which it somewhat resembles in form. The head is short, the eyes soft and expressive, the horns tapering, spreading, and curved backward. The body is covered with long, silky hair which hangs down like the wool of a sheep. Between the horns is a mass of thick curly hair, and over the shoulders is a large bunch of long, fine hair, resembling a hump, and giving the animal the appearance of a buffalo or zebu. The tail is covered with long hair, like the tail of a horse, and descends nearly to the ground. The prevailing color of the hair is black. The voice is a short grunt like that of a pig, from which the animal probably derives its popular name. The domesticated yak is of much importance to the Tibetans, forming a large part of their wealth. The milk is rich and yields a high per cent of butter which is an important article of domestic commerce. From it are also made curds which are widely eaten both fresh and cured. The meat resembles beef and is palatable and nutritious. The hair is spun into ropes or woven into cloth for tent coverings; the finer fur of the hump is used for clothing. The skins, tanned with the fur on, are used for caps, outer winter garments, rugs and blankets.