Nature Canada

Meet the Moose, Nature’s Long-Legged Vegetarians

Most people don’t realize just how enormous Moose are until they see one up close and personal. Moose are the largest members of the deer family. They can weigh up to 1200 pounds and stand over two meters tall! Moose can be brown, reddish, greyish, or even almost black with grey or white ‘socks’ on their legs.

Newborn calves make deep grunting sounds that develop into nearly human-like wails after a few days pass. Adult Moose are very vocal during their breeding season, with females making a nasally bawling sound and males bellowing in a cough in response.

Photo by Scott Rickett

Moose Habitat and Eating Habits

Lucky for us, these giants are herbivores. Their favourite snacks are willow, aspen, and balsam fir trees. They eat mostly leaves, buds, twigs, bark, grass, and aquatic plants. In fact, the word “moose” means “eater of twigs” in Algonquin. Moose have poor eyesight, making them inefficient hunters, but have excellent senses of smell and hearing. Perfect for sniffing out the juiciest greens!

Since Moose are big with insulating fur, they need cold climates. Moose can be generally found in forested areas as well as near lakes, swamps, and ponds during the summer. These places tend to have moist conditions due to the proximity of the bodies of water. In the winter, moose live in places with snow cover.

Photo by Robert Berdan

Moose Conservation

Moose face a variety of threats in the wild, such as climate change, hunting, habitat destruction, parasites, and disease. In Canada, moose populations are endangered in mainland Nova Scotia. It’s important to protect Moose. Moose play a key role in ecosystems. Simply by grazing, they are able to change the composition of vegetation in an area. They are also significant to Indigenous Peoples, serving as a traditional source of food and clothing.

Moose Fun Facts

  • Moose are great swimmers and can sustain a speed of 6 miles an hour. They can also hold their breath for 30 seconds.
  • Bull moose shed their antlers and regrow them each year.
  • Moose tend to be very shy animals!
  • Baby moose are called calves.

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.