Heavy body, long nose with prehensile upper lip, hairy nose. Coarse greyish brown hair, light grey to white legs. Adult males have a beard. Two types of antlers: spiky or palmate antlers.
Large forest areas rich in rivers, lakes and wetlands, also young stands and brushwood. In summer the elk prefers swampy areas, in winter drier places.
Trunk length 170-290 cm, tail length 7-10 cm, shoulder height 180-220 cm (male), 150-188 cm (female), body weight of males 320-600 kg, females 275-375 kg, weight at birth 11-16 kg.