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Moose Facts

Photo by Richard L. Ross, Sr.

Moose are the most wonderful animals in the world.  With their bountiful beauty and strength, they inspire us with a sense of awe for Nature's majesty.  Moose also happen to be my favorite animals.

Moose (Alces alces) live in the northern parts of America and Eurasia.  They are the largest members of the deer family, the biggest moose as high as seven feet at the shoulders.  They can weigh over 1300 pounds, the males with broad, palm-like antlers up to six feet across and 90 pounds heavy.

Despite their size and strength, moose tend to act very kindly toward their environment.  Moose treat other animals and their surroundings with respect and care.  Moose can be deadly if they feel threatened or angered: they may charge the opponent or kick forcefully with their hind legs.  However, moose generally do not attack other creatures unless they or their offspring are in danger.  They prefer to avoid hurting others if possible.

Moose eat all sorts of plant matter.  In the summer, moose wade and swim through marshes and lakes, eating water plants.  They also eat the tender shoots such as birches, willow, or poplar.  In the winter, they will forage near the edges of forests, eating plant material such as bark or branches.

Only mature bull moose have antlers.  These antlers can very quickly grow to be very large size.  The rate of bone formation is the fastest known: up to one inch a day.  Moose shed their antlers before the winter each year and grow them back in the spring.  Why do they lose their antlers, considering the amount of energy it takes to grow them?  One reason they might shed their antlers is to make foraging in the winter easier.  Another reason is that the antlers each year are generally larger than the year before.  Starting over would allow the moose to expand not only length, but also broadness and bulk.

If you are interested in learning more about this magnificent creature, much more information can be found on the web sites below.  As a starting point, I would recommend the Magnificent Moose Project or Tracking Moose.  There is plenty of satisfying moose information, statistics, pictures, drawings, and trivia on these sites.  For a good laugh, check out either Space Moose or The Mind's Moose.  The more sensitive folks might try A Good Month for Moose or Moose Poetry.
 


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