// About the moose
The moose (Alces alces) is the largest member of the deer family. The male is called bull and the female cow. A cow that has not yet given birth to a calf is called heifer.
The moose has a body length of 250 up to 300 cm, stands 230 cm at the shoulder and can weigh up to 850 kg. It has got an up to 10 cm long tail.
The size and weight vary a lot according to the subspecies and environment, but you can estimate the weight of a Swedish bull in the autumn to approximately 450 kg and of a Swedish cow to 350 kg. A calf´s weight varies more, but it weighs about 120 to 150 kg in the autumn.
The colour of the moose´s fur ranges from red-brown to black-brown. It becomes paler in wintertime. Only the bull has antlers, which can be divided into two different kinds, namely butting antlers and fork- or palm antlers. The latter can span over 2 meters in width. By the age of 5 to 12 years the antlers will not grow any bigger. After that they will start to contract and loose tines. The bull sheds its antlers in January to February.
The moose is sexually dimorphic; the bull is considerably larger than the cow (about 20 %). The difference, however, can first be seen clearly at an age of 5 to 6 years. But it is unusual for a bull to reach this age in Sweden where they are hunted extensively. A cow, on the other hand, might reach an age of 15 years.
Habitat and range
The moose occurs in Europe, Asia and North America where it populates woods and taiga with its excess of lakes and marshes. The moose was eradicated in the area south of Scandinavia and west of Poland.
During summertime in Sweden there are between 300000 and 400000 moose of which approximately 100000 are hunted and shot in autumn.
Feeding, breeding and living
Fodder in summertime consists mostly of leafs, sprouts and twigs. Aspen and sallow are especially popular. The roots of water lilies are often mentioned as an important mineral addition in moose diet in North America.
In autumn the moose diet includes blueberry sprigs and heather and the moose are known to raid an oat field from time to time as well.
During winter time the food consists of pine brash and twigs from birch and aspen among other things.
Mating takes place in autumn and if it has been successful, an 8 month long pregnancy follows (230 - 240 days). The cow will give birth to one calf, but twins are not uncommon. The calf will stay with its mother for about a year before being rejected.
The mooses natural enemies are bear, wolf and - in North America - cougar. These enemies only prey on young calves. Grown and healthy moose have no natural enemies.
Usually the moose jogs along at a casual pace but when in danger it can speed up to 60 km/h.
Moose (Alces alces)
Weight: Swedish bulls weigh 320-550 kg, cows weigh 250-375 kg.
Size: Length 200-290 cm. Height bulls 180-210 cm, cows 150-170 cm.
Life span: 20-25 years