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Moose

Bébés Orignaux

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Moose

Facts about the moose

  • Ears are very sensitive.  They prick up and register sound waves at the least hint of danger. 
  • Poor eyesight.
  • Highly developed sense of smell allows moose to detect the presence of other animals without seeing them.   
  • Thick, stiff pelage is highly effective protection in winter.

The moose, sometimes called American Elk (Alces alces), is a member of the deer family Cervidae. Well established throughout North America as well as Northern Europe and Asia.  

Awesome antlers

Bébés orignauxOnly bulls (male moose) carry antlers, which can spread to over 2 m in width and weigh more than 30 kg.  The antlers grow from April to August and are shed in early winter.  

Maximum antler growth is reached by the age of 7 or 8 years.

Imposing mammals

Bulls weigh between 300 and 450 kg. Their height can vary from 1.5 to 2 m. Although smaller than bulls, nevertheless cows (females) grow to the size of a horse. 

Predators

Wolves and bears are the moose’s greatest enemies.  Their senses and thorough knowledge of their territory help moose avoid contact with humans.An adult bull can fend off a small pack of wolves.

The rutting season

The rutting season occurs during September and October. When two bulls respond to the same beckoning cow, they are quick to battle it out with their antlers.    The weaker contender usually backs off before either bull is injured. 

Fodder

Moose are herbivores, feeding on plants, leaves and grasses. In summer they relish aquatic plants; in winter they eat mainly twigs and branches. A fully grown moose can consume up to 30 kg of fodder a day. 

Moose calves
Calves weigh between 10 and 16 kg at birth.  They are very ungainly.  When they’re only three days old, they’re able to follow their mother around everywhere.  A two-week old moose calf can outrun a human being, and it even knows how to swim.

Range

OrignalMoose are found mainly in wooded areas, combining coniferous and deciduous trees, and around lakes and swamps. Their range may extend from 5 to 50 km2. They are not particularly territorial animals and if disturbed, will simply go elsewhere.  When wolves hunt moose, they often attack the sick or the eldest, and thus help cull the weakest animals. 


THE MOOSE SEASON BY SEASON

Spring

Female moose (cows) calve once a year. Gestation lasts about eight months. Before giving birth, a cow selects a secluded area in the woods to ensure that her offspring will be safe from predators for a few days. A cow gives birth to one or two calves, rarely three.

The calf grows quickly. Its weight doubles in three weeks. Although a cow will wean her calf in autumn, it remains under her care until it is a year old.  The following spring, when the mother is about to give birth again, she chases off the yearling which must now fend for itself. 

Summer

Moose love water.  Of all the cervids, they are the most at home in an aquatic environment. They wallow for hours to find relief from biting insects, gorging themselves on aquatic plants. 

They are excellent swimmers: they can cover a distance of 20 km at a speed of 10 km/h and dive to a depth of 5 m. On land, their long legs can carry them up to a speed of 45 km/h. These ruminants seek the shelter and shade of thickly wooded areas in which to chew the cud. Moose adore water lilies and arrowheads. When they graze, moose swallow without chewing. Later on, while at rest, they regurgitate the fodder and chew it thoroughly.

Fall

During the rutting season in September and October, the mournful calls of the female moose can carry over a distance of as much as 3 km. Abandoning instinctive caution, the bulls thrash through the forest in hot pursuit. Autumn is also the time when the velvet (a soft downy skin that actually contributes to the growth of the antlers) covering the antlers is shed. 

Females can mate as early as the age of three years. Bulls mature sexually at 5 or 6 years of age, at which time their antlers are imposing enough to challenge their rivals in the fight for a female. While a bull will mate with several cows in a season, he courts them one at a time.  

Winter

The considerable height and large hooves (Mammals with cloven hooves such as moose are in the order Artiodactyla) make moose well-adapted to snowy winters. When the snow is too deep, however, 2 to 3 animals will gather to form a yard which is linked to a network of trails. The yard enables the moose to find food more easily.  Moose don’t need the shelter of a den because their thick fur protects them in the most inclement weather. 

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