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The moose, the largest member of the deer family (family Cervidae), is a large animal with long legs and distinctive antlers. The front legs are longer than the rear legs.
Moose are taller than horses and can measure up to 7.5 feet (2.3 m) tall at the shoulder. Adult females (called cows) grow to be up to 800 pounds (360 kg); adult males (called bulls) are from 900 to 1,400 pounds (410 - 620 kg). The largest moose are found in Alaska, where specimens up to 1,400 pounds (520 kg) have been found.
Moose vary in color from almost black to very light brown. During the winter they turn a grayish color, helping to camouflage them in the snow-covered landscape. The long legs of the moose are lighter in color than the body.
Moose antlers grow to be up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long or more. Each year, the old antlers are shed; new antlers emerge the following spring.
Emerging antlers are tan to brown velvet. As they mature and the velvet peels off, the underlying antler is white. The moose rubs the antlers against tree bark to speed up the peeling process, and the antlers turn tan to brown.
Moose have very good senses of hearing and smell but not very good eyesight.
The Moose's long legs allow it to run at a very fast gallop. Moose are also very good swimmers
Moose are mostly solitary animals. The only strong bond is between a mother and her young.
Moose live in cool-climate forests near water (lakes, ponds, rivers, or swampy land).
Moose are found in North America (Canada, Alaska, and the northern United States) and also in northern Europe (in Siberia, Sweden, Norway, and the Baltic region).
Moose eat grass, leaves, and aquatic weeds. In the winter, they eat mostly twigs and conifer leaves
The grizzly bear and man are the main predators of the moose.
Mating is aided by deep calls and powerful scents. The gestation period of the moose is about 8 months after a fall mating. One to three calves are born at a time during the spring or summer. The calves are weaned at five months of age but remain with the mother for one to two years, until new new calves are born. Moose reach maturity at two years of age.
Until recently, moose populations were decreasing and were threatened with extinction because of over-hunting and habitat destruction. Moose are now recovering somewhat.
The moose belong to the:
- Kingdom Animalia (the animals)
- Phylum Chordata
- Subphylum Vertebrata (animals with backbones)
- Class Mammalia (warm-blooded animals with hair and mammary glands)
- Order Artiodactyla (even-toed or even-hoofed animals)
- Family Cervidae (deer)
- Genus Alces
- Species alces.
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