Moose

photo by Don McLelland CC BY-NC

Moose are the largest (5-6.5 ft tall at shoulder) members of the deer family and one of the largest mammals in North America. They can be found in the forests and wetlands of northern Canada, Alaska, around the Great Lakes, and in the northwestern mountains. Their huge shoulder muscles look like a hump, a flap of skin dangles from their throat, and the males have huge flattened antlers that are shed every year. Wide hooves act like snowshoes, making it easier for them to walk on snow.

Moose eat many different kinds of plants, fruit, and bark. They are so tall that they prefer to browse on higher plants as it can be difficult to bend their head to ground level. They are often seen in lakes or wetlands feeding on aquatic plants. They have poor eyesight but a strong sense of smell.

Could it be? Moose are larger, darker-colored, and more solitary than Elk. Confusingly, European Elk are related to North American Moose, whereas European Red Deer are closely related to North American Elk.

Did you know? Moose are powerful swimmers and can even dive for food. The young swim well within a few days of being born.

See Also: Caribou, Elk