Why do moose attack


The Moose

(Alces alces)

Family: deer (Cervidae)

Photo: House of Nature - Cismar (Elch in Bergen / Norway)


The elk is the largest species of deer on earth. Its habitat are the coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests of the north, which are criss-crossed with lakes and swamps. Moose live in northern Europe, America and Asia.

Moose are herbivores. They like to stand in swamps or bodies of water and eat the marsh grass. They also feed on buds, leaves, and thin twigs, and peel the bark from trees and shrubs.

The elk is about 2.50 m to 3.10 m long from head to tail tip with a shoulder height of up to 2.35 m. Moose cows are usually smaller. Bull elk weighs around 800 kg. Moose cows usually do not weigh more than 400 kg. The fur has different shades of brown, depending on the season, and with light legs. The adult bulls have large, scoop-shaped antlers. (In the north the antlers are usually larger than in the south.) Young bull elk only have pointed and not very branched antlers, the older the animals get, the bigger and wider the shovels become. There are seven subspecies of elk that can be divided into two groups: the European elk and the American and East Siberian elk. European moose are a bit smaller, their shovel antlers weigh 10-15 kg, the giant moose from Alaska weigh 20-35 kg (rarely up to 2 m wingspan of the shovels) and with a wingspan of up to 1.90 m elks have Shovel weights of up to 44 kg were found from Eastern Siberia. As with all deer, the antlers are shed every year and grow again. The elk cows have no antlers.

A moose hoof consists of 2 claws, between which there is a "webbed skin". Therefore, it can walk through swamps and bogs without sinking in too much.

The moose is a loner and ruminant. He will be around 25 years old. He is active during the day and night and can move skillfully and quietly. Moose live in territories that they defend with antler fights. They shed their antlers towards the end of the year.

During the rutting season, the bulls fight for the females. After mating, the bull immediately leaves the cow elk. After about 35 weeks, the elk cow gives birth to one or two calves (early summer). She suckled them for six months, and after a year the cubs abandoned their mother.

Elk's enemies are bears, wolves and, in America, also pumas. Wolves only attack old, weak or sick moose because the moose can defend themselves well with their hooves. Only a whole pack of wolves can kill an adult moose. People are also particular enemies of the moose: Moose are hunted and many are hit by cars.

People can eat the elk meat and use the fur and especially the leather for many useful things (e.g. for clothing).


Text by: Paula Ha. (Bargteheide, 11 years), Christina Bu. (Bargteheide, 11 years), Veronique Bu. (Bargteheide 11 years),
Carolin Pr. (Bargteheide, 11 years), Britta K. (Essen, 17 years)

Photo: House of Nature - Cismar,
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Last update of this page: August 20, 2015

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