Facts About YAKS

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The word ‘œyaks’ originated from Tibet where male yaks were known as gyag. The word was adapted in English by the British. A female yak is known as a nak in Tibetan, but in English, ‘œyak’ is a generic term for both sexes. Yaks are from the same family as the ox, and their natural habitat is in the Himalayan regions of South Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau. Yaks are similar in features to the ox with short, thick legs, three-foot-long horns, and humped shoulders.

Fact 1. Yaks, being high-altitude animals, have the distinction of being able to climb up to 20,000 feet without any problems. This makes it the highest elevated mammal.

Fact 2.  Yaks are used to temperatures of -40 0 F in winter. However, its internal temperatures can go up to 1040 F, providing warmth during the winter. It has adapted to the high altitudes by having a large lung capacity enabling a greater intake of oxygen.

Fact 3.  Yak wool is considered warmer than merino wool and more durable than cashmere. Priced at around $16 per ounce it is considered one of the most expensive wool.

Fact 4.  Tibetan monasteries use yak butter to light up their oil lamps.

Fact 5. A crossbreed between a yak and a bison is known as a yakolo. This was created through selective breeding in Canada in 2000.

Fact 6. Chinese operas utilise the yak’s tail hair as beards.

Fact 7.  Yak racing is a popular sport in Tibet. Recent forms of  racing have also included yak polo racing and yak skiing.

Fact 8.  The dung from the yak is used for fuel due to the scarcity of trees in the Tibetan plateau.

Fact 9. Yaks do take baths in winter as they are insulated both externally and internally. The outer coat consists of two layers of fur. Its internal digestive system also keeps it warm.

Fact 10.  There are about 2,000 yaks in North America. The pioneer group traveled from Tibet to Europe in the mid-1800s. From Europe, specifically Scotland and Germany, yaks found their way or, rather, were exported to Canada.

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