Moose

Print
Category: Animal Info Pages


The moose (Alces alces) is the largest living species in the deer family.  Moose are common all across the northern hemisphere in boreal and mixed deciduous forests. Moose have been reintroduced to many places where habitat loss formerly contributed to diminished numbers.

The animal known as the elk in Europe is actually what we refer to as a moose here in North America, though we have our own separate animal which we call the elk. 

The word "moose" comes from the Algonquian word moosu, meaning "he strips off", a reference to the eating habits of this massive animal.  Their diet consists of tender shoots and bark from trees like birch and willow, non-grass plants like ferns, and aquatic plants. 

Since 1990 there has been a steep decline in the number of North American moose, and the cause of this remains unexplained.  Humans are the main predator of the moose, though the reintroduction of certain bear species and wolves may have helped to lead to the population reduction.

Moose are solitary animals, and do not form herds like some other deer species.  Females (cows) select their mates (bulls) based on antler size and symmetry, a trait that reflects the age and health of a given moose.

Many Native American Indian tribes relied heavily on moose meat.  The leather of the moose was also very sought after, and cave paintings depict moose being hunted dating as far back as the stone age.  The largest harvested moose in the United States was taken by a man named Eric Arnette.  The moose was taken in Alaska, and measured almost 15 feet tall, weighing roughly 2300 lbs.