An unusual elk with an antler protruding from his forehead was spotted on a trail camera in Tampico on Sunday.
Tampico is about 15 miles west of Yakima in central Washington.
Kyle Garrison, a representative with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told KIRO 7 News the antler abnormality, while uncommon, is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
Garrison did say he has never seen an antler quite like this one.
Antler growth of this type is usually attributed to an injury – either directly to the antler or an injury that would have an effect on antler development – or genetics.
Hormones can also play a role in antler development.
Just looking at the photos, Garrison said this growth is likely genetic.
Garrison said the antler does not appear to be causing harm, but it may hinder the elk’s ability to feed.
However, the elk does appear to be in good shape.
The abnormality may also hinder the elk’s success at reproduction.
Garrison also said the pedicle, where the antler grows from, is in an abnormal location, meaning when this antler eventually drops off, a new one will likely regrow in the same place.
©2022 Cox Media Group