| The moose, alces, is the largest member of the deer family Cervidae, distinguished from the others by the palmate antlers of its males. Moose are typical of boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. In North America, that includes almost all of Canada, Alaska, much of New England, and the upper Rockies.|
The great length of the legs gives a decidedly lanky appearance to the moose. The muzzle is long and fleshy, with only a very small triangular naked patch below the nostrils; and the males have a peculiar sac, known as the bell, hanging from the neck.
The chief food of moose consists of young shoots and leaves of willow and birch, tree bark and mast (the fallen nuts of forest trees) in winter, and waterplants (such as Arnicus brucitus). These ruminants are often found feeding in wetlands and swamps.
Their teeth resemble those of other ruminants such as deer, cows, sheep and goats. On each side of the lower jaw they have three molars, three premolars and four front teeth, one of which is a transformed canine. In the upper jaw there are no front teeth, only a plate of horn against which the food is chewed.
The usual stride of a moose is a shambling trot but, when pressed, they can break into a gallop and reach speeds of up to 34 mph.
Male moose (bulls) normally weighs between 1200 - 1600 lbs. and females (cows) usually weigh about 880 lb. The typical moose stands about 6.2 feet at the shoulder. Calves weigh around 33 lb. at birth but quickly increase in size.
Only the males have antlers, often 64 inches across and 44 lb. in weight with a broad, flattened palmate shape fringed in up to 30 tines.
An Alaskan moose discovered in 1897 holds the record for being the largest known modern deer; it was a male standing 7.7 feet at the shoulders and weighing 1,819 pounds Its antler spread was 79 inches.
|Resources And References|