The moose (North America) or Eurasian elk (Europe) (Alces alces) is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a "twig-like" configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. The animal bearing the scientific name Alces alces is known in Britain as the Eurasian elk, and in North America and New Zealand as the moose.The British English word elk has cognates in other Indo-European languages, for example elg in Norwegian, šlg in Swedish, Elch in German and ?o? in Polish. Confusingly, the word elk is used in North America to refer to a different animal, Cervus canadensis, also known as the wapiti which is similar though much larger (it is the second largest deer species in the world), and behaviorally divergent from the smaller red deer of central and western Europe. Presumably early European explorers in North America called it elk because of its size and presumably because, as men coming from the British Isles they would have had no opportunity to see the difference between a member of the genus cervus and an animal fitting the description of alces at home, where the latter was nowhere present in the 17th and 18th century.
Ten Facts about Moose
- All moose are herbivores and are capable of consuming many types of plant or fruit. The average adult moose needs to consume 9770 calories per day to maintain its body weight.
- A typical moose, weighing 360 kilograms, can eat up to 32 kg of food per day.
- An adult moose stands 1.8-2.1 m (6-7 ft) high at the shoulder. Males weigh 380-720 kg (850-1580 pounds) and females weigh 270-360 kg (600-800 pounds).
- The life span of an average moose is about 15-25 years.
- Moose are mostly diurnal. They are generally solitary with the strongest bonds between mother and calf. Two individuals can sometimes be found feeding along the same stream.
- Mating occurs in September and October.
- Males produce heavy grunting sounds that can be heard from up to 500 meters away, while females produce wail-like sounds.
- Female moose have an eight-month gestation period, usually bearing one calf, or twins if food is plentiful, in May or June.
- The name of a male is referred to as a bull. The name of a female is referred to as a cow.
- The collective name for a group of Moose is a herd or gang. The sound made by a Moose is referred to as a bark or bugle.