Moose is a ruminant animal with even toes and cud-chewing characteristics of a typical land herbivore. The name moose has originated from the Algonquian Eastern Abnaki named ‘moz’ which means twig eater. They are often known as large northern deer with huge flattened antlers (found in males). They survive in boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Moose is the largest species in the deer family. The humped look of the moose is due to its highly muscled shoulders. Moose is a diurnal animal that grazes during the day time and sleeps at night. The head of a moose is long and heavy, with slightly suspended big and flexible upper lip. Usually of peaceful disposition, a moose can turn out to be aggressive if threatened. Here are few interesting facts about the giant deer in the following lines.
Binomial Name: Linnaeus
Scientific Name: Alces alces
Length: Height at shoulder – 6 to 7 ft
Weight: Male: 380 to 720 kg; Female: 270 to 360 kg
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years in wild
Range: Europe and North America
Habitat: Boreal and Mixed deciduous forests of Northern Hemisphere
Call: Whistle-like call and grunts
Mating Time: September and October
Gestation Period: 8 months
Number of Offspring: 1or 2
Interesting And Fun Facts About Moose
- Bull moose or moose bull is the name given to male moose, the female moose is known as cow moose or moose cow, and their offspring is called as calf or calf moose.
- The name moose is popular in North America while in Europe and Asia, they are called as elk.
- In the Algonquin language, moose means eater of twigs.
- Moose are mainly found in the regions of North America, Europe, and New Zealand.
- Eastern moose was included as staple in the diet of North Americans, some centuries back. Moreover, the North Americans often used their meat in pemmican as a source of nutrition in winters and on long journeys.
- During the colonial era, they reached near the extinction mark in North America because of overhunting and destruction of habitats by French, Dutch, and British colonial sources.
- With the end of roman era, the population of moose reduced and they almost disappeared from all their habitats in Europe, except the Scandinavian countries and the patchy tracts of Russia.
- Various wild life sanctuaries and national parks tried to reintroduce the beast in different regions of Europe, but all their efforts failed because of political complications. Only USSR and Poland achieved success in restoring them.
- The southern area of Canadian border marine has the largest population of moose, with a headcount of 30,000.
- Being herbivore, a moose can eat any type of vegetation. It requires 9770 calories per day to maintain its body weight.
- Because of its height, the common moose prefers to eat from tall plants and trees.
- Moose don’t have upper front teeth, but the sharp incisors on the lower jaw, tongue, lips, gums, and six pairs of molars and premolars help in cutting and eating even woody vegetation.
- Like cattle, goats, sheep or, giraffes, moose are ruminant, which means they have four-chambered stomach to regurgitate food and then re-chew it for better digestion.
- A full grown adult moose can have a tail with the length of three inches.
- According to an Algonquin belief, you could have a long life if you dream of moose.
- Antler moose is one of the biggest moose which is 81 inches long.
- During winter season, when it snows, the moose feeds on shrubs and pinecones. It scrapes off the ground with its hooves to consume mosses and lichens.
- In summers the moose roam in small groups while in winters they form huge herds.
- The hooves of moose are well adapted to help it traverse through snow during winters or through muddy and marshy ground for rest of the year.
- During the mating season, the male (bull) moose calls (bellows) loudly to woe female moose.
- In a bid to put their strength to test and establish dominance, the male moose fight with each other using their antlers.
- The moose can kick in all directions with its front feet.
- Moose have poor eyesight and rely on their keen sense of smell and hearing.
- The antlers are borne by male (bull) moose only.
- Moose shed their antlers after the mating season. Older male moose are the first ones to shed their antlers around December followed by the mature moose that shed their antlers by the end of January.
- The average life span of moose is just 5-6 years, but if a moose can avoid predators and is healthy throughout, then it can live up to 20 years.
- A moose can dive upto 20 feet under water and can swim upto 6 miles an hour. They have been known to swim without stopping at a stretch of 10 miles and can remain submerged for 30 seconds.
- A moose can run with a speed of 35 miles per hour. They can run non-stop for 15 miles.
- The moose’s hair has evolved to be hollow that allows it to stay afloat while swimming or foraging for plants.
- The Moose has 30 centimetres long fur-covered skin near its throat which resembles like a bell.
- You can differentiate an adult male moose from the young ones by the color of their coats. The adult moose wears a dark brown coat whereas young ones have reddish brown.
- Moose’s antlers are the fastest regenerative organs that can fully develop within a span of 5 months.
- Before shedding the antlers, the moose first sheds the layer of skin on it, called velvet.
- In many countries moose are hunted for entertainment. Their meat also serves as an alternative to red meat.
- Moose is harmless to humans, but if provoked, it can charge in defence. It also shows aggression during the mating season or when the female moose is confronted with its calf.
- The infestation of ticks during winter season can be very dangerous to moose and can reduce their population almost by 50%.
- Moose are now believed to be extinct in New Zealand because of low number of sightings and unsuitable habitat.