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It was a late summer night in central Maine. As I was driving across a secluded, unpaved road, a huge shadowy figure that appeared like a giant horse swiftly galloped across the road just inches from my headlights. I slammed on my brakes and immediately realized I had nearly hit a Moose! I was lucky because a Moose can inflict serious damage on both cars and passengers. In fact, a car crash involving a Moose often results in death for car, passenger, and Moose.
Description: The Moose is a huge creature! It can stand seven feet tall and measure 10 feet in length. Males can weigh over 1,300 pounds. Females (cows) weigh up to 900 pounds. The Moose is the largest member of the deer family. Males are dark brown with huge antlers that may measure six feet in length. Moose antlers are the largest antlers carried by any animal in the world. The Moose is further characterized by its long legs, long, flexible nose, large ears, and dewlap of skin near the throat. The Moose has a conspicuous “hump” above the shoulders. The Moose has poor eyesight but has an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
Range: The Moose is found throughout much of northern North America and Eurasia in boreal mountains, cool mountain regions, bogs, swamps, and areas near water. Unlike many members of the deer family, the Moose loves to swim. In North America, the Moose is found throughout Alaska, Canada, the Rocky Mountains (south to Colorado), northern portions of Minnesota and Michigan and throughout northern New England.
Diet: The Moose is purely herbivorous and eats twigs, roots, and bark. In summer, the Moose tends to eat plants found in the water. In winter, the Moose may feed on pine needles.
Behavior: The Moose is generally a solitary animal. They generally congregate only during breeding season when males engage in violent clashes for the right to mate with a cow. Cows give birth to a single calf, though twins are common when food supply is adequate. Calves are weaned after 5 months but will stay with their mother for about 1 year. Males do not participate in the raising of calves.