Moose, Elk, or Both?

This species—Alces alces—is called “moose” in America and “elk” in Europe.


Moose are the largest and heaviest members the deer family. Unlike other deer, males, known as bulls, have open, hand-shaped antlers. American moose are found in northern forests dominated by birch and conifers like pine. (Wondering if elk are really native to Texas?)


Human impact has reduced their numbers and range. About 300,000 are thought to live in the US with 200,000 of those in Alaska. Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Many are found in Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks and the surrounding forests. At 700 pounds, Yellowstone’s moose are smaller than their Alaskan cousins which can reach 1,000 pounds.


Moose forage on terrestrial and aquatic plants. Wolves, bears and people are the most common predators.


Unlike most deer species, moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Calves remain with their mothers until they reach 18-months, whereupon the cow chases young bulls away.


Usually slow-moving and sedentary, moose can get nasty—and move quickly—if threatened or startled. During the autumn mating season, bulls fight vigorously to determine dominance.


This video was taken in Grand Teton National Park, close to Pitchstone Waters, which is frequented by Yellowstone and Teton moose.

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