Moose the story of an interesting fellow

Swimming ten miles per hour or diving up to twenty feet underwater are not traits that are commonly associated with moose. Surprisingly, both of these facts are still true. Moose generally live around water and are comfortable in it. Studying a moose’s habitat, appearance, and life will lead to learning many new facts about moose.

HABITAT

Moose are at home in several different places
The moose's habitat ranges across North America, Europe and Asia.

Habitat is an important aspect of a moose’s existence. Moose can only be found in the northern hemisphere. The majority of these mammals are located in Canada and Alaska; however, they can be found in the northern parts of Europe and Asia. In the eastern hemisphere, moose are referred to as elk.

Hey Neighbors!

These are some commonly seen animals in the moose's habitat.

Moose, along with woodpeckers, hawks, bear, fox, wolves, and hares, reside in northern coniferous or boreal forests due to the cool climate and abundant vegetation.

A Place to Call Home

These forests consist mainly of pine, spruce, and fir trees with little understory growth and have long, cold winters. During these winter months, the moose migrate to forested areas and avoid deep snow, which can make it difficult for the moose to find food and move around making them easy prey. Most precipitation in this habitat, up to one hundred centimeters a year, comes in the form of snow during the winter months.

Going for a Dip

This biome provides moose with the majority of their diet while also providing shade during the summer months. Moose like to stay near moist areas-bogs, marshes, and streams-during the warmer months. They use the water to drink, keep themselves cool, and to rid themselves of unwanted bugs.

Looks like this moose found a snack.

APPEARANCE

Big Guys

Adult males can weigh up to 1800 pounds and grow up to six feet tall. Usually cows, female moose, weigh less only reaching 1300 pounds.

What Are These For?

Another difference between bulls and cows is that the bulls grow antlers. Growing up to five feet across, these antlers shed yearly in the late fall only to be regrown the following spring. These vertebrates use their antlers mainly to attract a mate; however they may be used to ward off predators if needed.

Antlers in velvet.

Ready For Winter

In addition to losing their antlers, the fall brings a thickening of a moose’s dark brown coat as a ready protection for the upcoming cold of the winter. They can survive temperatures reaching –22 degrees Fahrenheit because their six to eight inch hairs are hollow to provide insulation.

Antlerless, this moose can easily get into these trees for a treat.

What?? What??

Two additional unique features moose have are their noses and ears. Moose have a keen sense of hearing. Their large ears can swivel 180 degrees to allow them to hear from all directions. These are several features that make the moose’s appearance unique.

Look at this Schnoz

Moose were given the nickname ‘Old Bucket Nose’ because of their large upper lip and elongated muzzles. Like most members of the deer family, moose have a good sense of smell.

Life

Nibbling on the Branches

A moose’s life encompasses many different things, such as eating habits, reproductive cycle, and the prey-predator relationship. Living in the boreal forest, moose generally eat twigs, berries, and other plants. On average, an adult moose eats up to 44 pounds of vegetation each day. In the summer, moose like to treat themselves to pond weeds and lily pads. In the winter, food becomes scarce, so the moose eat bark from trees. One of their favorites is willow bark.

On land or in the water, a moose can find a treat to eat.
A hunter claims her moose.

Moose are herbivores and eat only vegetation. However, they have predators that hunt them. Man is a moose’s most threatening predator. Big game hunting seasons are common throughout the Rocky Mountain region of the United States and Canada. Nearly 90,000 moose are harvested annually in North America.

The Natural Enemies

Two natural predators are bear and wolves. Most successful hunts take place during the winter months when the moose tend to be weaker or less agile due to the snow. Bear and wolves seek out the weak, old, or young because they make easier targets. An adult moose uses its antlers to ward off predators and can use its front hooves as powerful and deadly weapons.

For most of the year, bull moose are solitary animals. In early fall, they bellow and fight to attract a mate. Eight months later in late spring, reddish-brown calves are born.

Cows usually give birth to single calves, but twins are not totally uncommon to older cows. When a calf is born, it cannot walk for several days. It is only a matter of time, five days, before the calf would be able to outrun a man. Calves typically stay with their mothers until the following mating season. Moose can be expected to live up to 25 years.

Concluding Thoughts

Happy Family

In summary, there are many features that make moose both interesting and unique. These huge awkward-looking, 1800 pound animals can run, jump, and swim better than most humans. Like humans, moose can whistle. This is a sound that they would use to communicate with each other. To learn more about moose or any other animal, visit your local library.

Works Cited

  • Barlow, James. “Moose”. Ranger Rick. Dec. 1982.
  • Goodwin, George G. Merit Student Encyclopedia. Macmillan Educational Company. 1987.
  • Runtz, Michael. Mooseworld. www.mooseworld.com.1991.
  • Van Ballenberghe, Victor. In the Company of Moose. Stackpole Books. 2004

Credits:

Created with images by Unsplash - "moose water forest" • skeeze - "moose bull cow" • priittammets - "moose" • PublicDomainImages - "rainshower light during" • AK Badwolf - "Moose on a snow pile" • bitslammer - "Downy Woodpecker" • Bird Brian - "BVR_4130" • brad schafer - "Bear" • paulbr75 - "wild rabbit rabbit animal" • SCA_Deutschland - "Ein früher Morgen im Wald" • Buvrix27 - "winter scene mountain" • Lee Edwin Coursey - "Moose in Fishercap Lake" • Larry1732 - "Moose" • Bergadder - "bear brown bear animal"

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