Musk oxen have a reputation for being dim-witted and thick-skulled, but with their powerful build and dangerous looking horns, this is not one animal you want to get irate. Like many other animals during the rut, male musk ox are ready to fight just about anything, even inanimate objects. Wildlife photographer Nicolas Le Bayon caught this large musk ox challenging a large rock while on a 3-day visit to Norway’s Dovrefjell Park in June.
Looking at the video that Le Bayon took, it certainly seems as if the musk ox is practicing its age-long ritual combat on the boulder. Notice how the animal slows down before impact, perhaps so it can better absorb the blow and limit damage to its horns. Even the strongest of animals know it’s a bad idea to charge a hunk of solid rock at full speed, but sometimes they just don’t care.
Despite their appearance, musk oxen are actually smaller than they look. The thick horns and shaggy coat exaggerate the size of the animal, which on average usually weigh only 400 to 900 pounds. In comparison, domestic bulls can weigh many thousands of pounds. Musk oxen are also more closely related to sheep or goats than they are to other oxen.
Judging from this video, it’s not hard to see what attributes they share with some equally-stubborn rams.