Moose - Alces Alces - Môswa - Élan
Alces Alces (Scientific name)
Môswa (Indigenous name - Cree)
The average lifespan of a Moose in the wild is 15-20 years.
The Moose is a browsing herbivore. They will eat many different types of plants and fruits. About half of their diet consists of aquatic plant life. They can eat up to 71 pounds of food per day! That’s a lot of food.
Males (also called “bulls”) weigh between 838 - 1,543 pounds and females (also called “cows”) weigh between 441 - 1,080 pounds! Did you know they weighed that much?!
Male Moose have antlers. Females often select their mates based on the size of their antlers. After the mating season, the Moose shed their antlers (that’s right, their antlers are not fused to their skull) to conserve energy for the Winter. But don’t worry, a new set of antlers will regrow in the Spring!
An average moose stands 4.5 - 7 feet tall at the shoulder. How tall are you?
Moose have a very short tail - shorter than all other Ungulates - which means they can’t use it to swish away those pesky insects!
Have you seen that thing under their chin? That’s called a dewlap or bell. Do you know what its purpose is? …Neither do we. But there are several theories about it! It could be used as a method of communication... or an indicator of dominance. Neat, huh?
Moose fur consists of two layers. The top layer is guard hair which is hollow and helps keep them afloat while swimming. The bottom layer of fur is super soft and wooly, which keeps them nice and toasty warm. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have two layers of fur to keep us warm during the cold, cold winters?
Their double layer of fur means they are extra adapted to cold weather, and don’t do as well in hot weather. They need to find shade and water to keep cool in the Summer.
Where can you find them? Did you know that Moose inhabit almost all of Canada?! They can also be found in select areas of the United States.
In Canada, there are an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Moose!
Have you ever seen a Moose in the wild?