When a Moose Calf Grows Up

This article is the second 1/2 of the Life Cycle of a Moose.  The first part was:  ‘And Another Thing about Moose Cows & Calves‘ *

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Moose are magnificent animals that live in the colder regions of Alaska, Canada and northern-most US states.

Mother Moose is constantly teaching her babies during that first winter.   If the calf does not learn enough, it will die in the first year of life.

Nature also has a hand in the life of a moose calf.  Depending on the region and food available, calves may die in the first year for other reasons:  accidents, disease, malnutrition, drowning and being attacked by predators.

A Confusing Spring

If the moose mother gets pregnant in the fall after his birth, the calf will face a staggering shock in early spring.  After being constant companions for many months, the calf’s mother will suddenly chase him away!

The calf cannot understand the change.  He may try to follow her for days … or even weeks. Those yearlings born with a sibling are the lucky ones; they have a traveling companion.

Singleton yearlings may try to join an adult bull.  The adult may allow this for a while.  However, at rutting time, he will not want the competition and will drive him away.

If a yearling tries to join a different mother moose and her calf, she will not tolerate it.

Occasionally, a mother moose does not become pregnant during the next rutting season.  In this case, the yearling gets to stay with his mother for a while. 

During the next mating season, either the mother or the bull will drive him away, fearing he is a sexual rival.

Moose Socialization

There are only 2 events of moose socialization:  the close relationship between a cow and her calf and the short period of mating.  The rest of the time, moose are solitary wanderers.

Moose Facts 

  • Moose reach their prime between ages 5 and 10.
  • Moose grow new antlers from scratch each year!
  • Moose antlers in velvet are still sensitive; by the time the velvet falls off, the antlers are hard bone.
  • Moose grow their antlers just for the rut!

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* The original article in this Moose series is:  ‘Moose: Giants of the North

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Coming Soon:  Moose Mating!

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October Moose‘ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 12:04 am  Comments Off on When a Moose Calf Grows Up  
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And Another Thing about Moose Cows & Calves …

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Enemies of the Moose include: Black, Brown and Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Coyotes. However, man is the moose's greatest enemy: We keep encroaching on his habitat.

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Fascinating Facts about Moose Cows & Calves

After the fall mating season for the moose, the cows search for a secure spot to have their young.  She usually looks for a place that offers three things:  security, food and water.

Typically, the cow chooses an island or peninsula near a pond, river or lake.  The gestation period is about 240 days (or 8 months) and the calf or calves are born in May or June.

The New Calf

After a labor of about 1 hour, the cow has her offspring lying down.  She immediately starts to bond with her baby by licking the calf and nuzzling against the babes.

Mother provides milk soon after the birth, while both are still lying down.  After a few days, the calf can easily reach it’s standing mother to nurse.  Within a week of birth, the babe can easily outrun any human who wants to run along!

Calves and Danger

Unlike some of her cousins, moose moms take their children wherever they go.  This is different from deer, that tend to hide their babies while seeking food.

Moose moms feel assured that they can defend their calves from any predators.  In fact, they are some of the most protective parents in the wild kingdom!

Mothers who have lost their youngsters are some of the most dangerous animals on earth!  They will stop at nothing to get their babes back.

Don’t ever get between a moose mom and her calf/calves.  It’s just not a very healthy place to be!

As the Calf Grows

At birth, the calf is about 3 feet long and 3 feet tall, and weighs 25 – 30 lbs.  During the first month, the calf gains about 2 lbs. per day!  Calves start foraging full-time and stop taking its mother’s milk at about 5 months of age.

Mother Moose is constantly teaching her babies during that first winter.   If the calf does not learn enough, it will die in the first year of life.

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Soon:  As soon as the Moose Mom is ready to have a new calf, something fascinating and awful happens.  Find out what … next time!

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 ‘Northwoods Moose’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Moose: Giants of the North

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Despite their looks, Moose are usually rather timid. The 2 exceptions are: a rutting bull and a mother Moose with her calf.

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Moose are the Largest Members of the Cervid Family

Other Cervids include:  axis deer, the North American elk, whitetail deer, caribou, reindeer and mule deer.

A typical example of a Canadian moose is over 7 feet at the shoulders, weighs around 1400 lbs.,  is 10 feet from nose to tail and has about a 40 inch long leg!   However, the Alaskan moose is larger!

Where the Moose Are

Almost 1 million moose range over a huge territory:

  • most of Alaska
  • most of Canada outside of the Arctic
  • upstate New York and much of northern New England
  • Northeastern Minnesota
  • Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • upper Rocky Mountains
  • mountain regions of Utah and Colorado
  • as far west as the Blue Mountains of Oregon

Dining Habits of the Moose

As ruminants, moose chew their cud, like domestic cows.  They eat leaves and twig ends of many trees, fibrous forbs (like: bunchberry), plus seeds of grasses and sedge, ferns and fungi.

During warm weather, they eat about 50 lbs. of matter each day; in winter, they  average about 35 lbs. each day.

Moose During Rutting Season

During the mating season, the bull moose is at his most ornery and difficult to anticipate.

If you are following bulls too closely, you may need to climb a tree to get out of his way!  It’s best to give bulls plenty of room.

You will know you are in trouble if the bull moose lowers his head, showing off his full rack of antlers.  Then it is likely that he will swing his antlers to-and-fro, so you get the message — that he’s not kidding.

If he’s really aggravated, he may pitch his head up into a bugling posture (similar to his cousin, the elk).  When he wants to “up the ante” in his challenge of another bull (or people), he grunts.

Are Moose Really Dangerous?

It’s surprising how few interactions  between people and moose there are, considering their numbers.  Other than traffic accidents, there have been only a few incidents between humans and moose.

In 2 separate incidents, moose have stomped 2 people to death!  Oddly enough, these occurred in suburban regions of Alaska — not in the wilds of our largest state!

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Showdown‘ Moose Graphic is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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More Moose Moments:  coming soon!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  
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