Moose

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Moose
A male moose in a lake
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Alces
Gray, 1821
Species: Alces alces
Binomial name
Alces alces
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Where moose live (marked red)

A moose (Alces alces; called elk in Europe) is a mammal of the deer family. A male moose is called a bull, a female moose is called a cow, and a young moose is called a calf. A group of moose is called a herd, also known as a fangle. The plural form of moose is "moose."

Appearance[change | change source]

Moose are about 3 meters/10 feet long and about 2 meters / 6.5 feet tall. Males usually weigh about 500 kilograms / 1,100 pounds, and females weigh about 400 kilograms / 880 pounds. The moose has a fur coat colored between reddish-brown and blackish-brown. In winter, their fur becomes a grayish color. Moose have a flap of skin hanging from their throats, which is called a "bell". Male moose have large antlers. These antlers fall off before winter. In the spring the antlers grow back again. Female moose do not have antlers.

Range[change | change source]

The moose lives across North America to northern Europe to Siberia. In Europe they live in Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). In North America they live in Canada, Alaska and northern parts of the contiguous United States. In 2008 they have been re-introduced to Scottish Highlands from Scandinavia.

Habitat[change | change source]

Moose live in northern Europe, Asia, and in North America. Moose usually live in areas with lakes, marshes and swamps. They also live in mountain ranges, in and around Alaska and Canada.

Population[change | change source]

Finland in 2008 there were about 264,000 moose in Finland.

Life[change | change source]

A female moose and her calf.

Moose are active during the day. They live alone, but in winter they sometimes form small groups. Moose eat grass, leaves, twigs, willow, birch, maple shoots and water plants. After a pregnancy of 8 months, the female gives birth to one or two babies. Females begin to have babies when they are between two and three years old. Young moose stay with their mother for a year; after one year they leave and live alone. Moose usually live to fifteen years old, but they can reach as old as twenty-seven years old. A mother moose will aggressively protect her young. Their enemies are bears and wolves, who hunt moose calves.

Predators[change | change source]

Iron Age saddle from Siberia, depicting a moose being hunted by a Siberian tiger.

A full-grown moose has few natural enemies. Siberian tigers do prey on adult moose.[1][2] wolves can still pose a threat, especially to females with calves.[3] Brown bears are also known to prey on moose, although bears are more likely to take over a wolf kill or to take young moose than to hunt adult moose on their own.[4] American black bears and cougars can take moose calves in May and June and can, in rare instances, kill adults (mainly cows).[5][6] Wolverine are most likely to eat moose as carrion but have killed moose, including adults, when the large ungulates are weakened by harsh winter conditions.[7] Killer whales are the moose's only known marine predator as they have been known to prey on moose swimming between islands out of North America's Northwest Coast.[8]

Moose and humans[change | change source]

Moose have been hunted by humans for a very long time, since the Stone Age.

Because of their dark coloured fur, Moose are sometimes hit by cars since they are hard to see when they are crossing roads at night. In some countries like Canada, Finland and Sweden they have a moose sign and have fences around motorways.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Alces alces at Wikimedia Commons

  1. Frasef, A. (2012). Feline Behaviour and Welfare. CABI. pp. 72–77. ISBN 978-1-84593-926-7 .
  2. Tigris Foundation dedicated to the survival of the Amur tiger and leopard in the wild : UK HOME. Tigrisfoundation.nl 1999. Retrieved on 2011-01-09.
  3. Nancy Long / Kurt Savikko (2007). "Wolf: Wildlife Notebook Series – Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Adfg.state.ak.us. http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/furbear/wolf.php. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  4. Nancy Long / Kurt Savikko (2009). "Brown Bear: Wildlife Notebook Series – Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Adfg.state.ak.us. http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/biggame/brnbear.php. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  5. Charles C. Schwartz and Albert W. Franzmann (1983). "Effects of tree crushing on black bear predation on moose calves". Bears: their biology and management (A selection of papers from the Fifth International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Madison, Wisconsin, USA 1980) 5: 40. http://www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin/tpl/Downloads/URSUS/Vol_5/Schwartz_Franzmann_Vol_5.pdf.
  6. "Hinterland Who's Who – Cougar". Hww.ca. http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=87. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  7. "Gulo gulo – The American Society of Mammalogists". smith.edu. http://www.science.smith.edu/msi/pdf/i0076-3519-499-01-0001.pdf. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  8. Robert W. Baird; Robin W. Baird (2006). Killer whales of the world: natural history and conservation. Voyageur Press. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-7603-2654-1 . http://books.google.com/books?id=Rjksm-5-ap4C&pg=PA23. Retrieved 2011-02-02.