Thursday Morning Face-off: Michigan Moose Edition
September 27, 2012
In their History of Moose in Michigan, the DNR notes that moose are native to Michigan and were present throughout the state except for the southwestern Lower Peninsula prior to European settlement. Due to extensive logging of their habitat, hunting and likely a parasitic brainworm, they disappeared from the Lower Peninsula in the 1890s, with only a few hanging on in the UP. You can click the link above for the story of the recovery to the current level of around 500 and see Moose in Michigan for more.
Nature Works page on Moose – Alces alces tells us that:
The moose is the largest member of the deer family and the tallest mammal in North America. It stands six feet tall from shoulders to feet. Females weigh between 800 to 1,300 pounds and males weigh 1,200 to 1,600 pounds. The moose has long, thick, light brown to dark brown fur. Moose hair is hollow, which helps keep the moose warm. The moose has long legs. Its front legs are longer than its rear legs. This helps it jump over fallen trees and other forest debris…
The male or bull moose has huge broad and flat antlers that can stretch 4 to 5 feet across. Antlers start to grow in the early summer. When antlers first start to grow, they are covered with a soft fuzzy skin called velvet. The velvet has blood vessels in it that deliver nutrients that help the antlers grow. By late summer, when the antlers reach full size, the blood supply dries up and the velvet starts to drop off.
Moose mate in early fall. During mating season, females attract males with their deep calls and strong scent. Bull moose use their antlers in threat displays when they are fighting over females. Sometimes they will get into a pushing fight with their antlers. These fights rarely get too serious because the antlers could catch together and both moose could die.
The UM Animal Diversity Web entry for Alces alces Eurasian elk aka Moose has a lot of great information and photos as well and they add that:
The word “moose” comes from the Native American tribe, the Algonquins, which means “twig eater” in their language. It is an appropriate name because moose primarily browse upon the stems and twigs of woody plants in the winter and the leaves and shoots of deciduous plants in the summer.
If you happen to come across moose and want to help Michigan out with moose management, consider filing a moose observation report.
Carl says that the two young moose locked horns and pushed each other around for a while, but no real battle ensued. Check this out big as a moose, see a close-up of the confrontation and in his slideshow.
More Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures.