Moose (Alces alces)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Cervidae
Size:    Length: 6.5 to 10 feet (2 to 3 m)
Weight: 440 to 1800 pounds (200 to 825 kg)
Diet: Twigs, bark, mushrooms, grass and underwater plants
Distribution: North America
Young:  1 or 2 calves once per year
Animal Predators:  Wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and wolverines
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Male: Bull  Female: Cow  Young: Calf
Lifespan: Up to 27 years



·        Moose is derived from the Algonquian Indian word musee, meaning “twig eater.” 

·        Moose are also found in Europe, where they are known as European elk. 

·        A moose can hold its breath under water for up to a minute.

·        A female with calves is easily irritated and extremely protective.



Moose have a flap of skin on their throats called a bell or a dewlap. They have dark brown fur, large ears, long legs and a slight hump at the shoulders. Males are much larger than females and each season, males begin to grow antlers in April. They are full grown by August and are shed between December and February. Antlers can grow up to six feet (1.8 m) and weigh over 70 pounds (32 kg). 



Found mainly in Canada, Alaska and some northern States, moose prefer to live in wooded areas, especially coniferous forests, near swamps and ponds. 


Feeding Habits

Like most other mammals, moose need salt in their diet and find it in underwater plants. They also eat twigs, bark, grasses and mushrooms. They must eat 45 pounds (20 kg) of food per day to survive, but can eat up to 100 pounds (59 kg) of vegetation in one day. 



Mating season is mid-September to late October and calves are born eight months later. A female moose (cow) gives birth to one calf (twins occur as well). The calf’s fur is light-coloured but darkens as it matures. Within two weeks of birth, the calf is capable of browsing for food and swimming. By six months it is weaned, but it will remain with its mother for at least a year. The mother drives it off just before the birth of her new calf.



Moose tend to be solitary, only coming near other moose during mating season in the fall, although yearlings sometimes live together. They are excellent swimmers, able to move at speeds of six miles (9.6 km) per hour for up to two hours at a time. On land, they can run up to 35 miles (56 km) per hour.



Moose are susceptible to hunting and habitat reduction. Trains coming through western Canada kill hundreds of moose each year. Moose were introduced in 1904 to the island of Newfoundland, where they enjoy a steady population. 



Moose Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US