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10 mind-blowing facts about moose

Moose are one of the most fascinating animals you might encounter, the largest member of the deer family, moose are probably most recognizable by the distinctive massive antlers grown by the males. Found in cold climates in northern North America and throughout Eurasia, these massive creatures are surprisingly athletic as they run and swim with ease. They are incredibly recognizable, but most folks don’t actually know a lot about them.
So let’s dive into 10 mind blowing moose facts that will really amoose you!

10 mind blowing facts about moose

1. Moose are huge

You probably knew that they were big, but I mean they are really big. The average female weighs 771 lbs (350 kg) and the average male weighs 881 lbs (400 kg). They can get up to 1,800 lbs!
Their average length is just shy of 8’ to just under 10’ (2.4m to 3.2m). A bull moose’s antlers can spread up to six feet from end to end.The Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) is the largest subspecies. “Gigas” means giant. A male adult Alaskan moose can stand as tall as 7 feet (2.1 meters) at the shoulder and weigh up to 1,600 pounds, reports the NPS. Females can weigh up to 1,300 pounds.

2. Moose Are Usually Solitary

Unlike other members of the deer family, moose don’t travel in herds. They are relatively solitary animals, except for a few times during their lives. Mothers will stick with their calves until they are about a year old, then they will drive off the youngsters so that they can learn to fend for themselves. During mating or rutting season in fall, males often will meet up to battle each other over a mate. They will challenge each other by clashing antlers, then pushing, according to the National Park Service (NPS). But most of the rest of the time, moose are loners.

3. They Live in Cold Climates Around the World

Because of their thick, insulating fur and immense size, moose must live in cold climates. In North America, moose are found in the northern parts of the U.S. from New England, through the northern Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. They also live throughout Alaska and Canada.
There are also moose in Europe and Asia. They can be found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, as well as in smaller numbers in Russia, Belarus, northern Ukraine, Mongolia, and northeastern China. There were once moose in Austria, but the population is now extinct, and an attempt at introducing moose in New Zealand failed.

4. Bull moose shed their antlers each year

After a male moose is a year old, he grows antlers that increase in size and weight each year. Then a yearly cycle starts where the antlers begin to grow on bull moose in the Spring and continue growing until September when the velvet that covers the antlers dries and falls off. Moose often rub their antlers on trees which helps the velvet come off.
Eventually, sometime between mid-November and March, the antlers will fall off. Which doesn’t hurt them by the way.
Antlers aren’t used for anything in the summer but come fall when it’s mating season, they are used to intimidate their rivals. Once in a while when you have two bull moose of equal size and age, they may face off with each other.
Antlers are made of bone and covered in a soft skin called velvet. They develop quickly, growing as much as eight inches in nine days. Before mating season in September, bulls have a rush of testosterone that causes the velvet to shed, leaving bare bone.

5. They Are Herbivores

Moose are herbivores that eat a variety of plants and trees. The word “moose” is derived from an Algonquin term “moz” or “mons” depending on the dialect, meaning eater of twigs. They eat any kind of vegetation and require almost 10,000 calories each day. Because they are so tall, moose prefer to reach up and eat twigs, barks, and leaves from trees and shrubs. Some of their favorites include the native trees and plants in their area such as willow, aspen, maple, and fir trees. They also feed on sodium-rich aquatic plants along the banks of streams and ponds and will dine on them below the surface.

Like cows, moose are ruminants. They have a compartmentalized stomach so they can eat a lot of food at once and then save it to digest later. A moose can store more than 100 pounds of food in its stomach.
Moose will change their dining habits depending on the season and the habitats they frequent. In summer, they typically stay in open areas where they eat plants that grow in fields and along streams and lakes. In winter, they gravitate toward forests to find cover from the elements and eat bark, pine cones, mosses, and lichen.

6. Moose Can Be Aggressive When Encountered

These beloved icons of the wilderness don’t want to be messed with. They are not naturally aggressive, but moose will attack when they are threatened by people, dogs, or vehicles — or even when they are hungry or tired.5 They will charge, kick, or stomp to protect themselves or their offspring. They will lash out if they are surprised when sleeping or when harassed when people or dogs get too close or try to chase them away.
You can tell a moose is going to attack because its ears are laid back, the long hairs on its hump are raised, and it may lick its lips. You should back away and look for something like a car, building, or tree to hide behind.

7. Organisms of all sizes pose threats to moose

Moose are formidable opponents with sharp hooves that can kick with tremendous force, but even they have predators. A pack of wolves or a black bear is no match for a healthy adult moose, so bears and wolves typically pick off the young, sick, or old. And even though moose are powerful and quite large, a single bite can do one in: There’s a good chance the bite from a predator will cause an infection that eventually kills the animal up to two weeks later.
Moose also have a much smaller menace to worry about: parasites. Brain worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is a parasite contracted from eating snails. The infectious larvae migrate to the moose’s brain and cause neurological damage. “It’s interesting thinking of something as big as a human hair killing a 1200 pound moose, but they do,” Carstensen told Mental Floss in 2014.
Another tiny nuisance is the winter tick. Tick infestations depend on the weather and habitat: Harsh winters mean fewer ticks the following year. When ticks fall off animals to complete their cycle and there’s still snow on the ground, they die. So hard, long winters are great news for moose.

8. Moose are powerful swimmers

A moose can dive 20 feet underwater and stay underwater for up to 30 seconds! They can also swim fairly fast considering their size: up to six miles an hour. Moose hair is hollow, which helps them stay afloat while swimming or while eating. It also helps to keep moose warm in the winter.
The animals have an innate ability to know how to swim, so even calves can do it.

9. There are four subspecies of moose in North America

Moose, whose scientific name is Alces alces, can be categorized into four subspecies in North America: the eastern moose (A. alces americana), the Shiras moose (A. alces shirasi), the Alaskan moose (A. alces gigas), and the northwestern moose (A. alces andersoni), which Carstensen works with in Minnesota. Moose subspecies can be distinguished by their different sizes and antler shapes. The largest moose is the Alaskan moose (pictured above) that can stand more than 6 feet tall with an antler span of 6 feet.

10. Calves can grow quickly and outrun a person by the time they are 5days old!

A baby moose (called a calf) grows at an incredible pace during its first year of life. Calves are born in the spring, gain about one to two pounds a day, and later end up gaining five pounds a day!!

Clement Christopher

Clement Christopher is a content writer with a passion for writing unique and compelling contents about nature that grab readers attention. For the past 4 years, he has been working with clients to write contents that not only looks great but also spur interest in nature. His knack for nature compels him to volunteer at some animal shelter and also visit some zoos. He is always looking for opportunities to write and bring a unique perspective and creative approach to every project.

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