Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Moose shedding its antler’s velvet
Photo credit: arkive.org Tome & Pat Leeson

The Algonquin Indians called this animal Mooswa, which means ‘twig-eater,’ or one who strips bark from trees. The Moose is the largest animal in North America, and it is a deer—the largest deer in the world. Moose can stand 6.5 feet at the shoulder and weigh as much as 1800 pounds. For all this size and bulk, they are fast on their hooves and can reach speeds of up to 34 mph. Moose are also great swimmers and have been known to swim ten miles or more.

Photo credit: National Geographic

Photo credit:  Brad Starry, Your Shor (National Geographic)

They look similar to a deer, but their antlers set them apart. The antlers of a Moose are broad and flat and can spread six feet from end to end. Each winter the antlers are shed, and they regrow in the spring.

Photo credit: Douglas Lloyd (mooseworld.com)

 The Moose has a long face. Its muzzle hangs over its lower lip, and a flap of skin hangs from its neck. This flap of skin is sometimes referred to as a dewlap or bell. Scientists are not clear on the function of this loose hanging skin.

Image credit: iStock

To fuel their massive bodies, Moose have to eat a lot. Their diet varies depending on the season, availability and geography. They are herbivores, and that means they will consume mass quantities of greens; approximately 73 pounds per day, less in the winter. When the pickings get lean, they will strip bark from trees and eat that. 

Because they are so big and need so much food to survive, Moose have evolved an unusual ability that no other deer possess. They suppliment their diet with plants that grow in the water. Moose are excellent swimmers and can dive to depths of 16 feet to reach aquatic plants. To do this, they have evolved nasal valves which close, so water does not get into their air passages. Amazing!

I found an excellent video that shows how Moose live symbiotically with beavers. A symbiotic relationship is an interaction between different species. It can be beneficial as well as detrimental. However, in many cases, symbiotic relationships provide a needed balance in an ecosystem. Take a moment to check it out.

Oh, and here’s another odd thing about Moose, they can move each ear and each eye independently. Here's looking at you...no, at you. Uh...

Finally, no need to worry, this animal is not endangered. As a matter of fact, Moose are very adaptable even to environmental changes. 

Photo credit: Yvonne Cooper – flickr.com

If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating creature, visit the following sites:

Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope to see you again next week. Feel free to leave a comment and to share the post with friends and family. It’s truly appreciated.


Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland, and
One Hot Mess, a Child’s Environmental Fable
Award Winning Middle-Grade Fantasy, Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!