Moose are the largest members of the deer family. Despite their awkward appearances, moose can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. The hairs of a moose are hollow, providing wonderful insulation for cold, wet, winter weather.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Artiodactyla
Family - Cervidae
Subfamily - Capreolinae
Genus - Alces
Species - A. alces
Common Names - The name for "Moose" is from an Algonquin word meaning "eater of twigs." This name refers to the moose's habit of eating trees and bark because of their extreme height. In Europe and Asia, it is known as "Elk".
Moose are enormous animals standing at least 6 feet tall at the shoulder. They have heavy bodies weighing about a half a ton and are covered with dark brown, shaggy fur. Moose have long faces, and a saggy flap of skin called a dewlap hangs from their necks and throats. Male moose grow large antlers, spreading as much as 6 feet across. Their legs are so long that grazing on grasses is awkward, which is why they tend to eat plants that grow a little further off of the ground.
In springtime, male moose begin to slowly grow their antlers to prepare themselves for the breeding season. In the fall, bull moose with the largest antlers and best fighting skills will be able to mate with the females in the area. Bulls bellow to attract females that are in heat. After they mate, male and female moose go their separate ways. After the breeding season is over, the antlers of male moose fall off. Females give birth to one or two 30 pound calves in the spring. The calves stay with their mothers until the fall mating season
Moose are unlike many deer in that they do not live in herds; they are solitary except when mating or raising young. Moose spend much of their time grazing or eating aquatic plants. Moose are wonderful swimmers and are uncharacteristically graceful while in the water. Moose are not usually aggressive with people, but if they are frightened, they can behave aggressively charging people or dogs that seem threatening.
Moose populations are stable across the world. However, as climate change warms the Northern Hemisphere, moose will probably lose much of their habitat, since they can only live in very cold areas. Additionally, human interactions, especially land development and vehicle collisions can cause moose numbers to decrease.
Moose are found in the extreme northern regions of the world, all across the northern tier of the United States, in Canada, and all across Alaska. They also live in northern Europe and Asia, near the Baltic Sea, and in Siberia.