The Facts

  • Genus/ Species: Alces alces
  • Conservation Status:  Least Concern
  • Where Found:  Cold plains of North America and Europe


The Scoop

Long Head, Large Antlers

Moose, also known as Arctic elk, roam the forest areas close to the Arctic tundra. There are actually six different subspecies of moose found in the sub-arctic forests today. Moose have long legs, a heavy body, small tail, drooping nose, and a "bell" or dewlap under the chin. Their color can range from golden brown to almost black - depending on the season and age of the moose. Male moose have enormous antlers that they shed after the mating season and grow afresh every year.  It takes 3 to 5 months for a new set of antlers to develop fully. Female moose on the other hand, do not have antlers. 

Moose are big animals and are the largest members of the deer family. Moose can be up to 7 feet tall and are very heavy indeed. They can weigh up to 1500 lbs - which is about the weight of seven or eight normal adults. Moose feed on grass and twigs. Because of this they are also sometimes called twig eaters.  They are herbivorous animals and spend their time foraging for vegetation and branches to munch on.

Moose are hunted by humans and also by large animals like bears, cougars and arctic wolves. However, there are still plenty of moose left in the wild and they are not endangered in any way.  Moose are not aggressive, but if they are provoked they can attack you - so take care when you are around a moose!


Did You Know?

  • Maine designated the Moose as official state animal in 1979.
  • The antlers of a moose begin growing in midsummer and are soft and spongy during that period of growth, with blood vessels running through them. By late August or early September the antlers are fully developed, hard and bony. Adult moose normally shed their antlers in November.
  • Moose are powerful swimmers and sometimes dive for plants at the bottom of a lake.
  • Moose can also travel through practically any terrain. Their long, stilt-like legs make it easy for them to travel over fallen trees and deep snow.


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