Nature and Photography Blog

MOOSE PAGE 1

THE MOOSE PAGE  AND GALLERY: 
DEDICATED TO THE BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF MOOSE
(page 1 of 6)
 ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT © SLONINA PHOTOGRAPHY
 A BULL MOOSE IN THE FOGINTRODUCTION:

Welcome,  This website is dedicated to the biology and conservation of moose. We wanted to provide info on how to see moose and travel safely in moose country and also provide basic ecology of this icon of the northern forest. We have spent several years photographing and observing moose. They have provided us with hours of wonderful memories. We often sell pictures of moose and hear comments about how people have trouble seeing them.  Hopefully this site will help you learn about moose and increase your moose sightings.

We also included some examples of our photography. These pictures are also for sale see the ORDER PRINTS LINK at the bottom of this page. We realize its hard to judge picture quality on the internet so we guarantee our work. 

CLASSIFICATION:

The moose gets its common name from the Algonquins, which means “eater of twigs” and “one who strips the bark off of trees.” Its scientific name, Alces, means “elk.” They are the largest member of the deer family.

The moose belong to the:

  • Kingdom Animalia (the animals)
  • Phylum Chordata
  • Subphylum Vertebrata (animals with backbones)
  • Class Mammalia (warm-blooded animals with hair and mammary glands)
  • Order Artiodactyla (even-toed or even-hoofed animals)
  • Family Cervidae (deer)
  • Genus Alces
  • Species alces.

 

A BULL MOOSE IN THE FALL

CHARACTERISTICS:

They are a funny looking animal with their long legs, humpback, small tail , big hooves. The moose’s hump is caused by the long vertebral processes of the spine, which are covered by muscle. The shape does not change due to sex hormones, food supplies or water, nor is any fat stored there. Each of its feet has two large hoofed toes and two smaller toes. They can be 7 feet tall at shoulder. Moose can grow over 8 to 10 feet (3 meters)

Moose are adapted for cold environments. They retain heat thru their thick undercoat of dense hair and a second layer of long hair. Their long legs allow them to move thru deep snow, mud, bogs, lakes etc. Their wide hoofs help with stability. They have long legs which are higher in the front that the rear. This makes in hard to feed or drink from the ground they have to bend their knees.

They usually walk slowly. They are capable of running up to 25-30 mph for short distances if they feel threatened.  They move easily thru dense forests

DEWLAP OR BELL:

 Moose have a long narrow tail hanging from a shaft of fleshy beardlike flap of skin under their chin called a Dewlap or Bell. Bulls, cows, and even calves have bells. Bells grow, as the moose gets older. Their function is unknown. Some theories suggest it will indicate age and sex during antler free season.

 MUZZLE:

This grows with age. They have no incisors in upper jaw. They clip vegetation by pressing food between lower incisors and upper mouth. Then they tear the vegetation. Their teeth wear down, as they get older.  

BULL MOOSE

ANTLERS:

 The antlers function is mostly for display.  The antlers give a strong visual presence, which attracts cows and may intimidate other bulls. Bulls access each other by the size of each other antlers. The male uses his antlers to thrash brush (probably to mark territory), and to root plants from the pond floor.

They can also be used as a weapon. As with most cervids, either bull can avoid a fight by withdrawing. Occasionally bulls battle, but generally, threat displays prompt one animal to withdraw; if horns interlock, both may perish. Fights include antler-pushing back and forth.

Cows and bulls without antlers can rise up and thrash their legs. While a male may use its antlers to hold off a predator, a moose’s sharp hooves are its first line of defense. Moose are able to kick out in all directions, but generally use their front feet.

Male moose have antlers are broad palms connected by tines (points). Young bull calves have small antlers. The size or number of points on their rack can’t determine the age of bulls. Bulls over 5 years old in good health can have impressive racks. Males (Bulls) have antlers that can span 5 feet tip to top and can weigh up to 70 lbs. Alaskan males can get a six foot rack. A previous injury  

Antlers are mostly calcium. They develop in the spring and are covered in velvet. They grow rapidly thru the summer until August or September when they are fully developed. The velvet falls off or is rubbed off.

They shed their antlers between November and March, most likely between December and February. They two antlers are shed separately but usually within hours apart. Older bulls shed first and start regrowing antlers earlier.

WEIGHT:

Moose are taller than horses and can measure up to 7.5 feet (2.3 m) tall at the shoulder. Adult females (called cows) grow to be up to 800 pounds (360 kg); adult males (called bulls) are from 900 to 1,400 pounds (410 – 620 kg).  On average, cows weigh 750 pounds while bulls weigh 1,000 pounds. The largest moose are found in Alaska, where specimens up to 1,400 pounds (520 kg) have been found.

The farther north the moose the more they weigh. Bulls grow until they are ten years old.  Cows reach their maximum weight in 4-5 years.

Moose have different weights depending on what part of North America they are in. Their weight is affected by several factors including climate, food availability, population, and sex. For example in Rocky Mountain States like Montana and Wyoming they average about 750-850 lbs. In Alaska a large bull can weigh twice as much.

SPEED:

Moose are generally slow walkers but are capable of running up to 35 mph for short distances when necessary. They are very sure footed and can move conformably thru dense forests and wet muddy areas despite their large size. They rarely jump like other hoofed mammals. They prefer to walk around or step over objects in their way The two large toes on their hooves spread wide apart to keep the animal from sinking.  

AGE:

Cow moose have been known to live for as long as 20 years. Bull moose may reach 15 years of age. The oldest moose was 22 years old in New Brunswick, Canada.

SEX   MALE  (BULL)   FEMALE  (COW)  
WEIGHT 900-1400 lbs 800 LBS 
AVERAGE WEIGHT 1000 lbs 750 lbs
LIFESPAN 15 years 20 years
COW MOOSE
 
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