Moose…or is it Mooses or maybe Meese?
Quick. What comes to mind when you hear Alaska? Moose, right? Thousands of people travel to Alaska and specifically Gustavus Alaska every year with the hope of seeing one in the wild. Well, whether you see one or four, it’s still moose – not mooses or meese, for that matter. That’s moose fact number one.
Here are a few other facts that you just might not know about the largest deer family member with the unusual antlers.
• Antlers have been known to weigh upwards of 80 pounds (talk about a headache) and spread six feet from tip to tip.
• Only “bull” moose grow antlers – which they shed every winter.
• Antlers take three to five months to grow. They have a velvet-like covering when growing. In autumn before the “rut” or mating season, the bulls rub their antlers against brush and trees to help shed the velvet and to draw the attention of females.
• An adult male is called a “bull,” an adult female is called a “cow,” and a young moose is called a calf.
• From shoulder to ground, an adult male can stand nearly seven feet tall.
• Adult males can weigh 1600 pounds.
• The word “moose” is derived from a Native American Algonquin Indian word meaning “twig eater.” In fact most Indian names don’t have a plural form, e.g., deer or moose.
• Moose are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. They can eat up to 50 – 60 pounds a day.
• They have no upper teeth.
• Moose are generally not aggressive. Normally they are timid and shy, unless however, you are standing between a cow and her calf. They can kill. A bull can get aggressive during mating season as well.
• An adult male can run as fast as 35pmh and keep that up for 15 minutes at a time.
• Moose have excellent hearing.
• Moose are excellent swimmers (who knew?) and can swim up to 6mph for two hours, which would amount to 10 miles.
• They can dive to 18 feet.
• Moose are found in the northern part of the United States, Canada, Europe and Russia. The largest type of moose is the Alaskan moose.
• There are approximately half a million moose in Alaska. It’s not unusual to see them walking the streets in urban neighborhoods in Alaska or even lying down in your front yard panting – exhausted from chasing a potential mating partner.