Interesting facts about the Eurasian moose

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We found 19 interesting facts about moose

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The moose is the largest and heaviest living mammal in the deer family and one of the largest land mammals in the northern hemisphere.

It usually inhabits boreal forests and deciduous and mixed forests of temperate and subarctic zones in the northern hemisphere. Human activity has caused the elk's range to shrink over time. It has been reintroduced to some of its former habitats and its population is increasing.

Currently, most moose are found in Canada, Alaska, New England, the Baltic countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia), Finland, Poland, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The moose is the national animal of Sweden.


Elk (Alces) is a genus of mammals from the deer family (Cervidae).

The deer family, also called full-horned animals, includes animals with bony, full antlers. Antlers are a bone formation that grows from the frontal bone of the brain (paired process) on the head of male deer (the exceptions are reindeer, in which females also grow antlers, and swamp deer, in which there are no antlers). at all). The antlers are shed and worn every year and are the weapons needed by the bull (male deer) for self-defense and to fight for females during the mating season.

Representatives of deer include: tundra reindeer, red deer, European roe deer, European elk, fallow deer, sika deer, white-tailed deer, Indian deer.


Deer live in forests, forest-steppes, wetlands and tundra on all continents except Australia (the species found there are introduced).

They live both on the plains and in the mountains.


All types of deer are herbivores.

They usually live in herds; males of some species, usually older, choose a solitary lifestyle.


Moose live in the wild in Europe, Asia and North America.

Their highest concentrations are observed on the Scandinavian Peninsula, forests of Siberia, Canada and Alaska. In Poland, it is found in the Masurian Lake District, Mazowieckie Lowland, Podlasie and Białowieża Forest and, above all, in the Kampinos Forest (the logo of the Kampinos National Park contains an image of a moose).

Lonely, nomadic individuals can be found throughout the country.


The genus Alces (elk) includes two species: the Eurasian elk (Alces alces) and the American elk (Alces americanus).

The Eurasian moose is the largest living species of ungulate mammal, distinguished by its impressive antlers and exceptionally long limbs.

The elk found in Poland is a subspecies of A. a. alces (European elk). This is the largest game animal living in Poland.

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The oldest description of moose in European literature comes not from the northern regions, but from the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar.

European paintings and cave paintings indicate that moose were hunted as early as the Stone Age. Some of the earliest hunts of these animals took place in Northern Europe, as evidenced by excavations in Alby (Sweden), where elk antlers were found in wooden huts built about 6 years ago BC. Numerous remains of complex pit traps built 4 years ago have also been found in Scandinavia. years BC in which these animals were caught.


Elk are one of the largest land mammals in the Northern Hemisphere.

Its body length is 2,4-3,1 m (the male is larger than the female). The height at the withers is 1,5-2,34 m, and the body weight of the male (bull) can range from 540 to 740 kg, the female (elk, salmon) is shorter and lighter, reaching a weight of about 400 kg. The largest recorded specimen, found in 1897, was 2,34 m tall, weighed 825 kg, and its horns were 199 cm long.

The largest is the Alaskan gigas subspecies, which can reach a height of up to 2,3 m and a weight of up to 1,1 tons.


This is a cold-loving animal.

Temperatures of -50°C are not a problem for him, but above +10°C he begins to experience heat stress and then seeks coolness in the water, where he can stay for up to several hours. It is a very good swimmer and diver and can stay underwater for up to 50 seconds.


The moose's head is large and elongated, ending in a wide muzzle.

His upper lip is wide, elongated, mobile and fleshy - it serves as a grip. The slanted nostrils are directed downwards. The eyes are small(moose has poor eyesight), recognizes changes in light intensity well (dawn and dusk), ears are up to 26 cm long, with pointed ends. Neck The elk's tail is short and massive, which allows it to rotate its head over a wide range.

Hangs on the neck under the head fat growth with long black hair, the so-called Chin. A hump is visible on the back near the withers.

Legs moose are very long and strong. They end in powerful, widely extendable hooves, allowing the animal to move more easily through muddy terrain, wetlands and snow without falling through.


Moose have impressive antlers in the form of wide blades or stalks arranged horizontally.

Males develop scapulae at about 5 years of age, although some individuals do not develop them. Males with shovels are shovels, while males without shovels are elk moose (this form is more common in Polish moose). Well-developed horns can reach a length of up to 1,2 m with a wingspan of 2 m and a weight of up to 20 kg.

Elks shed their antlers after the mating season: older ones in November, young ones in December and January.


Moose move slowly and awkwardly, usually at a walk (raising both limbs on one side of the body at the same time, like a horse at a trot).

They never gallop; they can trot at a speed of 30 km/h, and for short distances at a speed of 60 km/h.


Moose are most active in the early morning and evening, although they feed both during the day and at night.

It does not exhibit territorial behavior and requires 10-15 km2 of area to live. Travels long distances in search of food. During winter migrations, moving from north to south, moose cover distances of up to 200 km or more.


The mating season for moose is called mating season.

The female, who has begun estrus, calls the male with a tearful, nasal roar. A male looking for a female does not waste time feeding and can lose up to 1/5 of his body weight during the estrus period. Estrus lasts about 4 weeks: from August to October in Eurasia and from September to November in North America.

Males compete for females, although fights between bulls in moose occur much less frequently than in other deer, and are less spectacular. The bulls line up facing each other, pick up speed with their heads down, and then lock horns together. The winner is the one who manages to push the enemy further.


The mating season for moose lasts from September to November.

Females become sexually mature at the age of 2 years, and males at 3 years. Pregnancy lasts 242-264 days, 1-3 cubs are born. Cubs are born red-brown, without spots. They are about 80 cm in length and the same height. They can follow their mother as early as three days after birth. Feeding the young can continue until the next estrus, but they eat solid food from the age of three months.

Half of the babies born do not survive the first two months, and those that do remain remain with their mother until the next year.


Moose are herbivores.

They forage and can eat many types of plants and fruits. The average adult needs to consume 9770 calories per day to maintain their weight. Moose get most of their energy from green plants, grasses, sedges, and fresh shoots of willow and birch. These plants are low in sodium, so moose readily feed on aquatic plants (lilies, pondweed) and marsh plants that contain more sodium. In winter, moose often come out onto the road to lick the salt that is sprinkled on the roads. Elk's diet varies depending on their location, but they seem to prefer young growth of high-sugar deciduous trees such as white birch, quaking aspen, and striped maple.

A typical 360 kg moose can eat up to 32 kg of food per day.


Moose do not have upper front teeth.

However, they have eight sharp incisors on their lower jaw. They also have a hard, rough tongue, mouth, and gums that help them eat woody foods. Moose have six pairs of large, flat molars and six pairs of premolars in front of them to grind food.


Moose are not grazing animals.

They, like giraffes, carefully select foods with less fiber and a higher concentration of nutrients. Unlike most ungulates, domesticated ruminants do not digest hay, and feeding hay to moose can be fatal.


The most dangerous natural enemy of moose is the gray wolf, which regulates the population by eating the weakest individuals.

The moose's enemies are also the brown bear and the Amur tiger, as well as humans. Since the Stone Age, people have hunted elk for their meat and hides, and used their antlers to make tools and jewelry. Moose meat is called elk meat. Moose milk contains 10-15% fat and can be used to make cheese.

Moose are easy to tame, so attempts have long been made to use these animals, for example, to obtain milk - ancient drawings depict scenes of moose milking. In the XNUMXth century in Sweden, moose were seriously considered as animals that replaced horses for postmen.


The Swedes used moose in the army as draft, pack and riding animals.

Since the 30s, attempts have been made to domesticate moose, initially with the aim of using them in the army (experimental moose farms were created in the USSR), as well as in agriculture. 

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