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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