The moose is a canadian icon.
Its gigantic size, chill attitude and majestic antlers make it one of our most beloved animals.
Hi, i’m Danielle Dufoe and you’re watching animal logic.
Today we’re out here in the vast and beautiful algonquin national park looking for something pretty special.
Don’t see them very often, but they’re iconic.
Here in Canada we are looking for the very elusive moose.
The first thing you notice when you see a moose up close is how massive they are.
They are absolute units.
Moose are the largest deer in the world and the largest land animal in Europe and North America.
The largest subspecies, the alaskan moose, can weigh up to 700 kilograms and are two meters tall at the shoulder, not including their antlers.
When they stand on their hind legs to forage for tree leaves, they can reach branches four meters off the ground, and you know what they say about tall moose: they have big old antlers.
A bull moose’s antlers are about 1.5 meters across, while the larger alaskan subspecies have even larger antlers, measuring up to 1.8 meters wide.
They’re the only deer that have palm leaf-shaped antlers, as opposed to twig-like antlers.
They use these massive antlers both as tools for sexual selection and as a defense mechanism against predators.
New research suggests that they might even improve a moose’s hearing by functioning as a parabolic reflector, like a satellite dish for sounds.
Having big antlers increases the moose’s chances to reproduce, as they’re less likely to be challenged by males with smaller antlers.
And the most amazing thing about their antlers is that they need to grow a new pair every year.
Moose shed their antlers every winter.
They’re cumbersome, heavy and radiate a lot of heat, so they have adapted to be antler free during the colder months.
In spring, the new pair starts growing.
The size depends on the bull’s testosterone levels.
Younger males have smaller antlers, but they keep getting larger every year until they’re about 13 years old.
After that the moose become elderly and the antlers begin to shrink.
A healthy bull’s antlers are some of the fastest growing tissues in the animal kingdom.
They can grow up to 20 centimeters a week.
Most populations have been steadily declining in the southern part of their range, but here in algonquin park is one of the last places that we’re still pretty likely to see one.
These look like really fresh mousse tracks, and i don’t mean the ice cream.
I have a feeling that we are treading the ground of a path that a moose took.
Their antlers grow from spring until about September.
They have thousands of tiny hair follicles that give them a velvety texture.
The velvet will stay on until September, when it starts to fall off.
The moose will rub their antlers on trees to help remove the velvet.
When doing this, they strip the bark off of trees, a process that results in the moose looking rather frightening.
This velvet is attached to a layer of skin, and skin is fed by blood, so you can imagine that when they’re rubbing their antlers hard enough against trees to strip bark, they are stripping the skin off of their antlers.
It is a bloody mess.
This behavior gives them their name, moose, which is derived from the eastern abernancy word moss or the Narragansett word moose or musu, variously translated as twig eater or He-Hu strips, referring, of course, to the bark.
In Europe, Moos are known as elks because of their Latin name Alkis winter.
Their antlers fall off completely.
They’re full of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals and provide a lot of nutrition to smaller mammals such as squirrels and porcupines.
White and Albino moose have beautiful white antlers and are called spirit moose.
They are protected in Canada and they’re considered a sacred creature by native communities.
Because of their size and their antlers, these heavyweights have very few predators.
The only animal capable of regularly taking down a bull moose is the siberian tiger.
Here in North America, juvenile, sick and elderly moose are targeted by bears, wolves and cougars, but a healthy, adult moose is generally untouchable.
Their size not only protects them from predators, it also keeps them safe from a far more dangerous threat.
The canadian winter moose are built for the cold.
Canadian Winter Moose
They have very thick skin, a warm coat and a low surface to volume ratio, which prevents them from losing too much heat.
Their long, skinny legs allow them to walk and run in deep snow, often times much deeper than it is possible for predators such as wolves to survive.
Hey, so we’ve been following along these moose tracks, and what it led us to so far is a big old pile of poop.
Exciting, when it gets hot, moose struggle.
In especially hot summers, moose lose their appetite and this might prevent them from gaining enough weight to survive the following winter.
To cool down on a hot summer day, they go swimming.
This also helps them get rid of parasites and to hide from horse flies.
They can swim up to 10 kilometers in a day and they can hold their breath under water for up to 30 seconds.
Moose spend so much time in cool ponds that they have adapted to eat water plants such as lilies and water weeds.
When foraging for food underwater, they are even able to close their nostrils.
They’re the only deer known to do this.
Water weeds are an important source of nutrition for moose, as they require a high nutrient and low fiber diet.
Moose need a very specific mix of plants to have a balanced diet.
Eating too much fiber can kill them.
This is one of the reasons moose haven’t been domesticated on a large scale, as amazing as that fantasy would be.
If they’re fed hay, it gets stuck in their bellies.
In one particularly tragic case, a moose starved to death with a hundred kilograms of hay in its intestines.
It was completely stuck and there was no room for it to digest new food.
While northern populations are stable, southern moose populations are crashing.
Most numbers have been halved in Southern Ontario and Cape Breton in the past 10 years.
There are several reasons for this.
The first is climate change.
Summers are becoming too hot for moose to endure and winters don’t always provide enough snow for young moose to be safe from predators.
The second is, even deadlier, white-tailed deer.
They’re extremely cute but carry lots of parasites that moose are not equipped to deal with.
As roads, human activity and climate change allow white-tailed deer to expand their range northward, they’re introducing pathogens such as liver fluke and meningial worms to moose respectively.
These can cause moose to die from liver failure and go blind and starve to death.
This tree here looks like a pretty good and pretty fresh example of bark stripping from a moose.
Moose will often rub themselves up against trees with their antlers and their whole body to remove parasites like ticks or for marking their territory.
Deer techs and winter ticks can have a devastating effect on moose.
On top of severe blood loss, they cause extreme itchiness.
Moose tried to deal with this by scratching themselves on trees, but sometimes they do it so violently that they lose parts of their coat and end up getting deep cuts and bruises.
Without a coat, moose are likely to suffer frostbite in the winter and the cuts become infected, leading them to an almost certain death.
It seems that moose should be able to tolerate a couple of ticks on their body, but in some cases they’ve been found to have over a hundred thousand ticks on their body.
At the same time, moose population controls are ongoing, but as the weather changes and deer Multiply, it becomes harder and harder to save the mighty moose.
No, no, look, look, look, i’m gonna look in the camera.
All right, give me a look.
Just going for a snack, looks like he’s having a good dinner.
It’s the end of the day.
None of us thought that we were gonna see anything.
We were ready to go home.
It’s even started raining and the sun is setting, and then there was a moose.
What should we talk about next?
Please let me know in the comments and be sure to subscribe for new episodes of animal logic every other week.
Thanks for watching song.
It does move, struggle.
I don’t know when it gets hot.
That’s going in the episode, damn it.