The moose is the largest deer species in the world and still lives in the wild in the cold north of North America, Europe and Asia. In the Netherlands you will only find it in Natuurpark Lelystad. The moose is a very large animal with a remarkable snout. The coat is rough and gray-brown in color. With its long legs – which are grayish-white in color – it can easily walk through the deep snow. In female moose, this grayish-white color extends to the tail. Adult males have a beard and beautiful antlers. Moose can smell and hear very well. However; Where the sense of smell and hearing is highly developed, vision is very limited.
Name: Moose Species: Alces Alces Family: deer Range: Northern and Eastern Europe Height: shoulder height 2.20 meters Weight: max. 800 kg Diet: Shoots, twigs, bark, herbs and aquatic plants Rutting season: september Antlers: Up to 10 kg per stalk, shed in February
Diet and habitat
Moose have a versatile diet. They eat most of the shoots and twigs of trees such as pine and bark of willows and aspen. During summer, when food is more varied and abundant, moose also like to eat herbs, leaves and water plants. In the autumn, grains are added to the menu. To maintain its weight, moose have to eat 10 kilos of shoots and twigs daily!
Moose live solitary for most of the year. Only in the winter do they meet each other and then form a small mixed herd. An adult female then becomes the leader in its herd. When it is rutting season, the males look for a female and then stay with her for a few days for mating. Although moose prefer drier areas in winter, they have a fairly permanent habitat. Moose live mainly in coniferous forests. In addition, they prefer a swampy and humid environment such as river valleys and lakes. They also love water and are excellent swimmers. When it gets wetter in winter, moose often look for something higher up where it is drier.
Only males sport antlers. In the spring the antlers start to grow and grow to up to two meters wide in a short time! Most moose have hoe antlers. These are broad, leaf-shaped antlers with short protrusions. There are also moose that have barred antlers. This type of antler is more branch-shaped. Moose that live in the south of Scandinavia more often have bar antlers and those in the north more often have hoe antlers.
Moose use their antlers as a weapon in battle with other males. During the rut, there can be fierce fighting over a female moose. In winter – between December and March – the antlers are shed. In this way the moose can save energy and this may be necessary in the cold winters. In the spring they will grow again and every year the antlers will become a little bigger.