Field Guide/Mammals/Moose

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Alces alces (Moose)
Family: Deer (Cervidae) [1]
Size: 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Legs 3½-4 feet in length. In the fall: adult cow (female) can weigh 500-700 lbs. Bull (male) can weigh 600-1000 lbs.[2]
Description: Largest of all deer species.[3] Fur is dark brown to black. Front shoulder hump and bell (flap of skin hanging below throat) are characteristics of mature moose. Have poor eyesight and acute senses of smell and hearing. Long legs and splayed hooves.[4] Bulls begin growing antlers in March to early April. Velvet is shed by August. Start dropping in December.[2] Antlers can spread 6 feet from end to end [3] and weigh up to 40 lbs.[4]

Range: Northern United States into Canada.[3]
Habitat: Woodland habitats both coniferous and broadleaved. Tends to prefer damp, marshy habitats and areas close to water. Found in open country in lowlands and mountains if a forest is nearby.[1]
Diet: Herbivore.[3] Vegetative parts of trees, shrubs, dwarf shrubs, herbs, and aquatic plants.[1] Winter food: needle bearing trees and hardwood bark, buds, and twigs.[2]
Activity: Active between dawn and dusk. High activity in May when yearlings are leaving adult cows before she calves.[2]

Reproduction: Rutting (sexual excitement) occurs from mid-September to mid-October. Give birth in May or June. Calf weighs 25-35 lbs., occasionally two calves are born. Calves remain with mothers 12-18 weeks. Within a week newborns are strong enough to walk and swim.[4]
Lifespan: 15-20 years.[3]
Male Moose.jpg

  1. a b c Henttonen, H.; Stubbe, M.; Maran, T.; Tikhonov, A. (2008), Alces alces,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  2. a b c d Living With Moose,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  3. a b c d e Moose, Moose Pictures, Moose Facts - National Geographic,, retrieved September 24, 2012 
  4. a b c Moose: Minnesota DNR,, retrieved September 24, 2012