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History of the Moose

The history of the moose dates back to around 1,000,000 BC to an old deer known as Irish Elk (megaceros). Fossils of the Irish Elk were found in England, France, Germany and Italy. The Irish Elk stood about seven feet tall, weighing about 2,000 pounds. The greatest collection of the fossils can be found in the National History Museum in Dublin, the animal had antlers that span up to 3.5m and weigh almost 100 lbs. Today moose are the largest members of the deer family, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They are also the tallest mammals in North America; their height, from hoof to shoulder, ranges from five to six and a half feet. Males weigh 794 to 1,600 pounds, while the females weigh 595 to 882 pounds. Moose have short tails, a hump on their shoulders and large ears that can rotate to increase their hearing. Their fur is generally black or brown and provides insulation from the cold. Male moose have antlers that can grow six feet wide. Antlers are only used for fighting for a mate, and they are shed each winter after mating season, which runs from September to October.

Breeds of moose

Diet of the Moose

Although moose lack teeth in front of the upper jaw, they have little trouble dealing with woody plant material. They feed on fresh leaves by browsing and may even pull a branch sideways through their mouth, stripping off up to two feet on vegetation with the aid of the tough, think tongue and lips. Many different plants are consumed by moose, however they will occasionally eat twigs. In general, preferred trees and shrubs include willows, trembling aspen, red osier dogwood, red maple, striped maple, white birch, beaked hazelnut, pin cherry and balsam fir. Aquatic plants include yellow pond lily and pond weed.

Digestive Tract

The moose are ruminants, meaning they have a four-chambered stomach and "cud-chewing" behavior.
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Reproduction of the Moose

Moose reproduce sexually and their gestation period is about eight months. The mating season for moose is called the "rut" or the "rutting season", which happens annually from late September to October. Calves are usually born in late May to June, moose do not reproduce during the winter, since the calf would not have a chance of survival. The bulls are very violent and unpredictable during this time. To attract a mate bulls dig a small hole in the ground, called a wallow, and urinate in it. The bull rolls around in the wallow to obtain a strong odor; the strong odor attracts females and helps bulls and cows communicate. Moose typically live up to fifteen years.

Uses of the Moose

Moose are valued for their meat and as a game animal; at least 7,000 moose are harvested annually in Alaska, amounting to about 3.5 million pounds of meat.
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