Moose (Alces alces)

Description
Moose

Size

  • Moose are the largest members of the deer family in the world.
  • Bulls can weigh over 450 kilograms (1000 pounds) and stand 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) at the shoulder.
  • Cows average about 350 kilograms (770 pounds).

Appearance

  • Moose are easily identified by their large size and dark colouration which varies from dark brown to black.
  • Other distinguishing features of both sexes are:
    • Broad muzzle
    • Shoulder hump
    • A loose fold of skin called a "bell" which hangs under the throat
  • Bulls have broad, palm-like antlers that can measure as much as 1.8 metres (6 feet) from tip to tip, and together both may weigh up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds).
Distribution
  • In Alberta, moose are common throughout most eco-regions, except for the prairie and parkland.
  • In recent years, moose numbers have been increasing in the parkland.
Natural History

Habitat

  • Areas of preferred habitat include:
    • Muskegs
    • Brushy meadows
    • Small groves of aspen or coniferous trees, particularly where such habitat adjoins lakes, ponds or streams

Food

  • During the spring and summer, moose feed on aquatic plants and browse on the tender shoots of willow, birch and poplar.
  • In the spring, moose also seek aspen bark, aquatic vegetation and minerals from natural salt licks.
  • During the winter, moose browse near the edges of dense forests where there is less snow.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • The rut usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October. Calves are born the following spring.
Conservation and Management

Status

Moose are classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Hunting

See details in the Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:

Moose sense

Moose have acute senses of smell and hearing. Their sense of sight is poor.

Surprisingly light on their feet

When alarmed, moose will often trot away with long, smooth strides. In spite of their large size and ungainly appearance, moose can move through underbrush very quietly.

 

Page Information

Updated: Jun 1, 2009