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All About The Moose

The moose (Alces alces) is a wild herbivore mammal. The most interesting info about moose is that it is the largest extant species in the "deer" family. It is called moose in North America, but in Europe it is known as the common elk. The male moose is called bull and the female is called cow.

There are several moose subspecies: Alces alces alces (Eurasian Elk), Alces alces cameloides (Siberian Moose), Alces alces americana (Eastern Moose), Alces alces andersoni (Western Moose), Alces alces shirasi (Shiras Moose), Alces alces gigas (Alaska Moose), Alces alces caucasicus (Caucasian Moose) - extinct due to loss of habitat and overhunting.

The moose can be found in northern North America, Asia and northern Europe. In North America, it is found in Canada, Alaska, the northeastern United States, and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It lives in forested areas where there's snow cover in winter, nearby lakes, swamps, streams and ponds.
A well known information about moose is that it's diet varies from season to season. In warm season it eats the twigs, leaves, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees, shrubs and aquatic plants (water lilies for example). During winter it's favorite food are woody plants like the twigs and bark of aspen, balsam, willow, birch, etc. An adult moose will need approximately 9,770 calories per day to maintain its health. With a height of about 2 meters, weighing almost 600 kilograms, the male has wide, branched antlers which may have 15 to 18 kilograms.

Every winter, the male loses his antlers, but they reappear in spring. In winter, they also lose up to a quarter of their weight, males living isolated, away from their females and their calves. Sometimes in this period they seek the company of other males, but in spring they get back to their herd.
Moose are capable of mating at the age of three years, September being their glorious month, when they gather in groups for the sole purpose of reproducing.

Males are polygamous, therefore they will find several females to breed with. During this time, both sexes will call for each other.

Males have to fight for females, the fight usually involving the antlers. Female moose have an eight-month gestation period. They usually give birth to one calf, or two if they have enough food.

Moose aren't aggressive with people, but if they are frightened or provoked they respond aggressively. During the mating season, bull moose can be aggressive with people due to a high level of hormones. Cows with young calves tend to be overprotective and will attack humans who come near them. This animal's meat is highly prized, especially the liver, thought to be healing. Their horns are also considered a trophy, so moose illegal hunting had to be stopped by a tough legislation.

They also have natural predators. A pack of wolves is sometimes a threat, especially for a female with calves. The Siberian tiger and the grizzly bear are also known as moose enemies, although bears prefer to steal the wolf killed moose or the young moose than to hunt an adult moose on their own. Killer whales are the moose's only marine predator.
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