Moose Minutiae

Click me to play the moose call again!!!

What you are hearing is a cow moose!

The moose's large body helps fight the cold by allowing less heat loss in the cold. Their long legs permit them to walk in deep snow and shallow ponds.  Like the polar bear, Moose hair is hollow. This provides good insulation against cold weather and hollow hair helps the moose float better when in water. The "dewlap" is that piece of skin that hangs from the bottom of the neck. It is used to spread its scent during mating rituals. The male's (bull) dewlap is generally larger than female's (cow).

Their teeth are best suited to eating plants, bushes and small trees. They have a four-chambered stomach for digesting different foods at different times. Woody bushes (i.e. the willow) is a staple, and the this complex stomach allows digestion of green leaf vegetables in the summer.  The sense of smell is highly developed. Predators' can be detected long before being seen or heard.  Would you believe that the droppings of the moose (moose nuggets) are used in many craft items.  A bull (male) moose weighs up to 1,800 pounds and their antlers can tip the scales at 75 pounds. And, those antlers can grow as much as one inch per day.

Unlike the cartoon characters we see (Bullwinkle and others), moose are not warm and fuzzy creatures, they are very dangerous and outright unpredictable. This character trait can cause havoc when a curious moose ventures into a neighborhood. Besides humans, the moose's natural enemies are the grizzly bear, black bear and wolf (and humans).  They will use their feet and antlers as weapons to defend themselves.

A bull may use its antlers to fend off a predator, but their hooves are the first line of defense as moose are able to kick out in any directions.  Their antlers are solid bone, but they are soft and tender while growing.  During this growing process, a thin layer of “velvet” (skin) containing thousands of blood vessels supplies calcium and minerals for strengthening the bones.  The velvet is shed once the antlers harden before the fall breeding season.  Late in the winter, the antlers are shed and the whole cycle begins again.  Each year, the antlers continue to grow larger.  Learn more about how moose and deer shed their antlers.

Did you know that moose are the largest antlered animals on the planet (and the world's largest deer), and males can weigh 1,000 pounds?  And, did you know that moose are excellent swimmers both on the surface or under the water?  Although a member of the deer family, the moose is in the same kingdom, phylum, and class as humans.

Algonquin Indians from the northern regions of Canada identified this animal that eats the bark from trees as “mooswa” (twig eater).  Somewhere along the way mooswa became moose.  The mooswa provided the Algonquins with was a source of food, clothing, shelter and tools made from their bones and antlers.  The plural of moose is isn't mooses (or meese or mice), its moose. Go figure!

Here are some great moose resources:

The moose
Glacier moose info.
Moose photographs
Moose pics
For you moose hunters, see this
Hear a moose call (wav file)
Moose Drool beer?
North American Moose Foundation

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