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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Artiodactyla · Cervidae · Alces americanus

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Alces americanus


Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae

Image of Alces americanus
Image includes representation of bark shredded from tree by antler rubs and of muddy wallow
Click to enlarge. (85 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Moose are large and heavy, with massive heads and long noses. They have short tails, a hump on the shoulders, and large ears they can rotate. Adult males have a long, floppy dewlap - its purpose unknown - that hangs below the throat, and they grow enormous antlers each summer and shed them each winter. Moose can move through deep snow with their long legs, insulated from the cold by a thick coat of hollow hairs. They have good senses of smell and hearing, but are not noted for their eyesight. They eat up to 20 kg of plants each day, and may migrate seasonally looking for freshly growing plants. The total North American population is about 800,000-1.2 million animals. Hunters take about 90,000 Moose annually. Their only other predators are bears and wolves

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are heavier than females.


Average: 3.1 m males; 3.1 m females
Range: 2.5-3.2 m males; 2.4-3.1 m females


Average: 430 kg males; 350 kg females
Range: 360-600 kg males; 270-400 kg females


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tenth Edition, Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 1:66, 824 pp.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account * (opens in a new window).
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Alces americanus

Image of Alces americanus
Click to enlarge. (95kb)

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