Well, we Moose evolved on
the European continent more than a 500,000 years ago. Recently, about 100,000 years ago, we migrated eastward
across northern Europe and Siberia... Of course we "did" the Bering Straits - Land Bridge Thing with a bunch of
other animals during the Ice Age. Then, most of us remained in Alaska, but others continued "Eastward Ho" across North
Today, we're all over the
Northern Hemisphere. Our range essentially coincides with that of the coniferous forests of North America, Northern
Asia, and in Europe, where for unkown reasons Europeans call everything that resembles a deer an Elk. Then again,
they now have a Eurodollar, so perhaps "one-of-a-kind" makes sense to them.
Our greatest population
is still in Alaska with Maine a far distant second by a factor of 6-1, followed by Wyoming and Minnesota which combined
don't have numbers equal our numbers in Maine. And Maine plus Wyoming and Minnesota don't equal a third of Alaska's population.
Now, by presenting these ratios and giving the total number equal to 230,000, we know that we'll send you Algebra buffs
into a state of ecstacy! Humans, crack us up... always trying to "solve" problems.
Our name, "moose," is derived from the Natick
Indian word "moos," itself, derived from the Algonquian word "mooswa," meaning "the animal that strips bark
off of trees." Some claim that it means "twig eater." What's the difference. Neither indicate that we eat Big Macs or domestic
We eat a variety of plants plus shrubs and trees, usually
preferring morsels of maples and aspens. We refer to all of our food as "browse," as in browsing. Humans who have
a need to classify everything call us "herbivores." As an aside, we think it odd that humans buy groceries, but
don't refer to themselve as grocerivores!
Actually, we're quite opportunisitc browsers... In summer
months, we fancy water plants. At times, we get motivated and dive deep to grab a tasty tidbit. Some of us can "free
dive" beyond fifteen feet! Ya, the Navy has been telling us how dolphins are now "Seeing the World." But we're
saying "No Thanks! We're swamp sweepers...not mine sweepers!" ( We can't figure out those dolphin... Just
when they get protected by "dolphin safe" tuna fishing, they start hanging around explosive mines. And they're suppose
to be highly intelligent! We...Don't...Think...So!)
We instinctively get the "munchies" following our
Fall mating season. It's necessary to "bulk up" on nutritional resources prior to the harsh winters when we may
lose up to 30% of our body weight. You Slim Fast dieters may be eating your hearts out over this reduction,
but trust us... at times we truly are down to eating the cellulose which you ingest through diet food to just feel full.
no upper teeth, we consume between 40 to 60 pounds of food per day. That's a lot of "moose pies" in any
neighborhood! And, it's probably why "burb" dwellers call the police when they sight us. They're not concerned
for us... but for their chemically fertilized, manicured lawn.
We have a digestive system similar to your domestic
cattle. Having four parts to our stomach, we ruminate... over food... over harsh winters... over swamp bugs,,, and
over Websites! Following our browsing periods, we do a little "R 'n R" -- Rest 'n Regurgitation.
Yup, we "toss" the partially digested food from our stomach to our mouths to "chew our cud" -- so to speak
-- an action that more completely breaks down our food before swallowing it again.. This may sound disgusting
to you, but it beats "brown-bagging-it" to work, or paying inflated deli prices.
Males are called bulls, though only our fearless leader, "Bull," capitalizes his name; females
are cows; babies, calves. Obviously, bulls don't like being "cowed" by anything. Ah, but a little seduction
does go a long way!
of us bulls grow to be 7 feet tall and weigh 1500 pounds! However, on average, we weight about 1,000 pounds; females,.. about
800. Overall, our biggest "bros" are in Alaska playing in the MFL and MBA...
THAT'S Moose Football League and Moose Basketball Association for people who haven't had their second cup of coffee.
bulls have antlers. They begin to
grow early in the spring. As they grow, they are covered with a fuzzy, soft skin which we call "velvet."
The velvet encases blood vessels which feed our growing antlers. Following the end of warm summer months, our
antlers reach the maximum growth and harden. No longer needed, the velvet begins to die and slough.
this point, we vigorously rub our antlers against trees to remove the velvet in order to display our new rack.
( Hey... Come on... Pay attention... We're talkin' bulls here! ) Well anyway., back to the point. Our
antlers are important visual symbols that indicate our social position and condition to cows that we'd like breed...
and to other bulls that we may have to fight to do so! (Why is sex never without complications... even in Bullwinkle's
World) And, like many
antlered animals, our antlers generally increase in size each year. It's like having the secondary,
sex-appeal lottery (which you may, or may not have won as a teenager) only annually. Now we ask you, humans...
seriously,,, wouldn't you rub your head... or some other anatomy... against a tree if you might become sexier?
By the way,
the antler sizes of prime bulls are impressive. Antlers may weigh 50, 60 pounds, or more! The largest
recorded set measured nearly 7 feet across. Obviously, this "stud" was the hearthtrob of all cows and the envy of all bulls.
our antlers are relatively soft and susceptible to injuries which can often cause deformity in the final shape.
Serious antler injuries can even show up on the subsequent year's antlers.
Late in autumn or early winter, following the mating season, antlers are shed, pretty
much in the order that we mated. It's quite a weight off our shoulders... winter is hard enough to bear. But, don't go searching; you're unlikely to stuble across our
shed antlers. Because they contain desirable nutrients, our antlers are eaten by squirrels,
mice, porcupines, and other woodland creatures. "Mother Nature" and "Father Time" recycle!
characterize our distinctive antlers as being "spatulated;" others, "palmated." Call them as you like, we call them our "Smith
& Wesson." Go ahead, punk... Come closer... "Make Our Day!"
As is said of the camel, because of our ungainly looks, some people joke that we're a deer
designed by a committee. Perhaps so, jocular humans, but don't mess with us... We can run up to 35 miles per
hour. And, we are excellent swimmers, capable of swimming up to 6 miles per hour for two hours straight. ONE WAY OR OTHER,
WE'LL GETCHA!... "Film Clip at 11!"
even-toed ungulate animal, characterized by spatulate antlers, long legs, a short tail, and a large head with a prominent
overhanging snout, attacks a wise-guy who apparently taunted it with the "C" word... Camel!"
tuned for full details.
We have a life expectancy of 8-25 years.
Because we're one of the largest North American animals, we have few preditors (ahem... besides humans) to knock us off and
endanger us. We suppose that brown bears and grizzlies are potential threats. But, honestly, they think so more
than us. ( Yabba Dabba Do to you, too, Yogi! ) Still, bears and wolves do threaten our calves, despite fierce
maternally instincts. Talk about mad cow anything... "you ain't seen nothin' 'til you've seen a Mad Mamma thrashin'
the bejeezus out of a predator!
Our most serious, natural, life-threatening
disease is called brainworm; it's a parasite carried by our cousins, the white-tailed deer, which apparently is not affected
by it. Hey! What are relative for? The worms are excreted in their droppings. Organisms feeding on these droppings
find their way to our browse which unknowingly we consume. The parasite inflicts fatal damage our nervous system.
It's ugly. End of story.
Frankly, our most "unnatural" threat is from you, humans,
and your inhumanity. Trophy hunting, toxic wastes, loss of habitat, and more, all knock the life out us.