North American Moose

The Moose is part of the deer family, the largest species in the family actually.

You can tell a male moose easily by its huge antlers that will spread over six feet sometimes. The Moose has a long face and a muzzle that will dangle over its chin when he is fully mature. A flap of skin that’s called a bell flows down, swaying over their throats.

A young moose, his antlers not yet fully mature
A young moose, his antlers not yet fully mature

Moose are very tall, so they would rather browse the grass that is higher, and taller shrubbery because, particularly the males, with their heavy antlers find it hard to lower their heads to the level of the ground to browse that way.

In the wintertime they will eat a diet of shrubs and pinecones, but they will also use their hooves to scrape away the snow to get at moss and lichens. Their hooves have a remarkable ability to support their vast weight when they walk on soft snow, and in mud or marshy ground, working a lot like snowshoes for the moose, distributing their weight more evenly.

The summertime offers a lot in the way of food supplies in the northern parts of North American, and when the ice melts you can very often see a moose standing in a lake, river or in marshy areas, feeding on the plants that grow on, or just below the surface.

The moose is very much at home in the water, in spite of , or perhaps because of their vast weight.. The water is buoyant to their bodies and they are incredibly good swimmers. The moose can swim rapidly several miles and may at times dive as deep as 20 feet, staying under the water for 30 or 45 seconds at a time.

On land a moose is a speedy traveler, running up to 35 miles an hour for a short distance and can maintain a steady trot of 20 miles and hour for several miles.

The males, which are called Bulls enter a season called rut each September and October, while the females are in heat. bulls will bellow very loudly calling to attract a mate, and are quite testy during this time as well. They may charge anything that comes in contact with them.

During this season the males will come together and battle with their antlers for mating supremacy.

After mating, the male and female do not stay together, but will go their separate ways, although they will once in a while feed on the same grounds, they ignore each other unless they are in mating season.

The female moose will give birth to either one or two calves in the early spring, which will weigh about 30 pounds at birth. They are born with eyes open and ready to walk within an hour of birth.

By the time they are five days old, having grown quickly on the mothers rich and very fatty milk, the moose calf can outrun a full grown person.

The moose infants will stay with the mother until her next mating season, nursing for about three months before beginning to browse on their own.

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