Beating out the yellow-eyed penguin since I’ve already doodlewashed a penguin, and a Yorkshire Terrier because that seemed too specific, we have this yak. Other than being the only animal that readily comes to mind for the letter “Y,” I really knew nothing about yaks. But apparently there are two types, one being domesticated and the other being wild. The domesticated ones are smaller and not quite as shaggy as their wild cousins.

So what’s so interesting about a yak? Well, they are pretty valuable to those who domesticated them in Tibet and parts of China for their milk, wool, meat, and surprisingly, their poop. Apparently yak poop is used as fuel in the high mountains of the Himalayas, since the government protects the few wooded areas that exist there. Sherpa villagers regularly collect the stuff on the trails, dry it out and make poop patties that they use in small iron stoves. It’s thankfully not stinky and can achieve really high temperatures.

If playing with yak poop isn’t your thing, then you might consider adding a little yak cheese to your diet. Because of the grasses and shrubs that they eat, versus industrial grains of other milk-making creatures, their cheese contains very high levels of healthy fats and Omega-3 fatty-acids. And unlike most food that’s good for you, yak cheese apparently tastes good. Those are some little tidbits I was able to grab quickly, but feel free to do your own research if you’re a yak enthusiast. Tomorrow we have the last letter in our alphabet! And then stay tuned for some special Leap Day reveals!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

47 replies on “Y Is For Yak

  1. Haha, well, at least now I know what to do with yak poo if I happen across some on my travels – many thanks, Charlie. Awesome doodlewash – fearsome horns, rendered so smooth they look extra strong and sharp, but I want to stroke that oh-so-thick, shaggy coat of his! He’s wonderful. You make me want all these animals😛

    It’ll be a shame as it always is to reach the end tomorrow/today, but I look forward to the 29th surprise and of course whatever you’ve got up your sleeve for March… not that I expect you’ve any idea yet!😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The yak is lovely, he has a very thoughtful look in his eyes – perhaps preparing to produce stove fuel? And don’t the locals put yak butter in their tea? I seem to remember this factoid. Well Charlie, I wonder if you will manage to bypass the ubiquitous zebra tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

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