Moose
One early January morning in 2000, as I sat
at my desk drinking coffee, this young bull
moose walked right up the driveway and
stopped in front of the office windows.  This
was my first sighting right here at my house
.
He happily munched on the bare branches of the snowball bushes for quite some time. My cat, Baby,
sat on the sidewalk and stared with huge eyes at him.    
Knowing that he would surely run if I even tried to open the door, I zoomed out with my camera from the
windows to get a closer picture.  
The largest cervid in the world;horse-size.  
Weight male 900–1,400 lb, female 700–1,100 lb.
Long, dark brown hair. High, humped shoulders;
long, slender legs; tail inconspicuous.

Huge pendulous muzzle; large dewlap under
chin; large ears. Male much larger than female,
with massive palmate antlers, broadly flattened.

Antler spread usually 4–5' (record 6' 9"). Calf is
light-colored but not spotted.  A bull's antlers
begin growing in March, attain full growth by
August, and are shed by breaking or falling off at
the pedicel between December and February.

The male uses his antlers to thrash brush to
mark territory, to threaten and fight for mates,
and to root plants from the pond floor.

The shedding of the velvet from its antlers, often
described as "dripping velvet," is a spectacular
sight, wherein pieces of the shed velvet may
hang or drape from the antler tips before falling
off completely.

Similar Species Elk has yellowish rump
patches and tail, and lacks huge, pendulous
muzzle and dewlap.

Range In the American West - Alaska,
Washington, Idaho, Montana and southeast
through the Rocky Mountains to northeast Utah
and northwest Colorado.  Minnesota, Isle Royale
in Lake Superior, east to south Maine.  Most of
Canada, also.

Habitat Spruce forest, swamps, and aspen and
willow thickets. Migrating seasonally up and down
mountain slopes, the Moose is solitary in
summer, but several may gather near streams
and lakes to feed.

Diet  The summer diet of the Moose is willows
and aquatic vegetation, including the leaves of
water lilies. In winter, it browses on woody plants,
including the twigs, buds, and bark of willow,
balsam, aspen, dogwood, birch, cherry, maple,
and viburnum. The Moose loses weight in winter
and gains it back in summer.

Voice  Vocalizations include the bull’s
tremendous bellow, and also "croaks" and
"barks" during the rut. The cow has a long,
quavering moan, which ends in a cough-like moo-
agh, and also a grunt used in gathering the
young. The bull rushes through the forest
looking for grunting cows and challenging rival
bulls with bellows.

Breeding Mates mid-September through late
October. The bull does not gather a harem, but
vies for females. It stages mock fights, circling
and threatening another male. As with most
cervids, either bull can avoid a fight by
withdrawing.

Occasionally bulls battle, but generally, threat
displays prompt one animal to withdraw; if horns
interlock, both may perish. Fights include antler-
pushing back and forth. If one male falls, he may
be hit in the ribs or the flank.

The cow is passive during all this activity, until
only one bull remains. He will then mate with her
over a one- to two-day period, then move on to
find another cow. During mating season, a bull in
rut urinates and then rolls in the wallow he
creates; cows also roll in it.

Young  After gestation of 8 months, 1 or 2
calves are born late May–early June. Newborns
weigh 24–35 lb. The calf is light-colored, but not
spotted. The newborn calf can stand up the first
day.  Within a couple of weeks, it can swim. It is
weaned at about six months. Just before the birth
of new calves, the mother drives it off. Calf light-
colored but not spotted.

Discussion The life span of the Moose is up to
20 years. Wolves are the main predator, but are
generally diminished from much of the Moose’s
range.

Despite its ungainly appearance, this animal can
run through the forest quietly at speeds up to 35
mph. The Moose is unpredictable and can be
dangerous. It is normally a retiring animal and
avoids human contact, but a cow with calves is
irritable and fiercely protective, and rutting bulls
occasionally have charged people, horses, cars,
and even trains.

Despite its ungainly appearance, this animal can
run through the forest quietly at speeds up to 35
mph. Also a good swimmer, the Moose can move
in the water at a speed of 6 mph for a period of
up to two hours. At times, the animal may be
completely submerged for many seconds. When
black flies and mosquitoes torment it, the Moose
may nearly submerge itself or roll in a wallow to
acquire a protective coating of mud.

In winter, the Moose may herd, packing down
snow to facilitate movement. Winter herding is
not social behavior; rather, the Moose are
congregating in favorable habitat.
April 17, 2008  My second sighting here at
my house; the first being January 2000
(pics below).
 
April 17, 2008  This is where I first spotted
him; nibbling apple tree branches at the
neighbor's.
April 17, 2008  After watching him for ten
minutes a car passed by, startling him
toward my house.
April 17, 2008  Before ambling along the
side of my house toward the alley, he
stopped in the trees (see first picture
above). Get a load of those lonnnnnnnng
legs.  hahaha
April 17, 2008  Before disappearing behind
the garage, he knelt down and curled under
his front hooves to drink from a puddle.  A
snowy and long winter took it's toll on his
weight, but he made it and he'll gain it all
back throughout the spring and summer.
January 2000 Photos
April 25, 2008.  Eight days later, a
return visit.  And looking much better
!
It was sort of like having my own little 'pony'
grazing on the hillside.  hahaha
Amazing what a week of good green grazing
around the neighborhood will do for a
growing moose.  
It even looks like he's added some weight,
especially comparing the pictures of the
hindquarters.  See similar picture above
during his first visit on April 17th.
He looks a little shaggy as he's shedding his
winter fur, but it won't be long before he has
a nice coat again.  

It looks like he's gonna make it just fine.  No
further sightings as of late May, so hopefully
he's found happier grounds higher in the
woods.  
Momma Moose with twins ~ November 1, 2011
February 2011
Moose tracks ~ February 2011
January 2011
January 2011