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Moose superior.jpg
Male (bull)
Elch 3 db.jpg
Female (cow)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Alces
Gray, 1821
A. alces
Binomial name
Alces alces
Moose distribution.png
Moose range map

A moose (Alces alces; called elk in Europe) is a large deer. Some authorities put the American moose in a different species, Alces americanus.

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. The plural form of moose is "moose”. Some people jokingly use the word “meese” based on “goose” and “geese”.[2]

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.

Range[change | change source]

Moose live in North America and also range from northern Europe to Siberia. In Europe they live in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland and the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). In North America they live in Canada, Alaska and northern parts of the United States. In 2008 they were re-introduced to Scottish Highlands from Scandinavia.

Population[change | change source]

The moose is widely distributed. Canada and Russia each have between 500,000 and 1,000,000 moose. Alaska has about 200,000 and there are some in the contiguous United States. There are about 115,000 moose in Finland, and about the same number in Norway.

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 calves. Females can first become pregnant 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. Moose calves are hunted by bears and wolves.

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 prey on adult moose.[3][4] Wolves also pose a threat, especially to females with calves.[5] Brown bears are 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.[6] American black bears and cougars can take moose calves and can sometimes kill adult cows.[7][8] Wolverine are most likely to eat moose as carrion but have killed moose, including adults, when the moose are weakened by harsh winter conditions.[9] Killer whales are the moose's only known marine predator. They have been known to prey on moose swimming between islands off North America's northwest coast.[10]

Moose and humans[change | change source]

Moose have been hunted by humans since the Stone Age.

Because of their dark coloured fur, moose are hard to see when they are crossing roads at night. They are sometimes hit by cars. In some countries like Canada, Finland and Sweden there are moose warning signs on roads and motorways are fenced.

References[change | change source]

  1. Henttonen, H.; Stubbe, M.; Maran, T. & Tikhonov A. (2008). "Alces alces". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 February 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |last-author-amp= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. "moose Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  3. Frasef, A. (2012). Feline Behaviour and Welfare. CABI. pp. 72–77. ISBN 978-1-84593-926-7.
  4. Tigris Foundation dedicated to the survival of the Amur tiger and leopard in the wild : UK HOME. 1999. Retrieved on 2011-01-09.
  5. Nancy Long / Kurt Savikko (2007). "Wolf: Wildlife Notebook Series – Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  6. Nancy Long / Kurt Savikko (2009). "Brown Bear: Wildlife Notebook Series – Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  7. Charles C. Schwartz and Albert W. Franzmann (1983). "Effects of tree crushing on black bear predation on moose calves" (PDF). 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. JSTOR 3872518.
  8. "Hinterland Who's Who – Cougar". Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  9. "Gulo gulo – The American Society of Mammalogists" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-22.
  10. 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. Retrieved 2011-02-02.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Alces alces at Wikimedia Commons