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THE MOOSE What's the moose? The moose is a large hoofed artiodactyl, it is the largest living deer. Male elk are larger than females and can reach a height at the withers between 1.4 and 2 m, a length of between 2'4 and 3'1 my weight between 350 and 500 kg. The moose is a mammal of grotesque features. His neck and trunk is short and stocky, while their legs are quite long. The moose head is very characteristic, has an elongated shape and is narrower in the eye and very broad at the muzzle. The nostrils of moose have always been open. The upper lip of the moose is flat and very mobile. Under the throat, the moose hangs a bell kind of skin covered with hair. This strange animal looks hunched shoulders by having much higher than the hindquarters and the neck short. The large ears give the appearance of elk mule. The elk hair color is variable. It can be very dark, almost black, or a brown or tan. However, it becomes grayish as winter approaches. The muzzle and legs are lighter colored, almost white. The elk calves are reddish. Only the male has a powerful antlers reaching up to 1.8 meters in the form of branches directed forward and upward. The moose antlers lost after the breeding season in late fall, November and December. The new antlers will grow until June or July. The moose has a lifespan of about 20 or 25 years. The more developed sense of smell is moose and has a good ear. However, the visual sense is bad in this species. Types of elk There are several subspecies of elk. In general, can be grouped into 2 categories according to the geographical area where they live. We can find Eurasian and American moose. However, some authors consider that the moose (Alces americanus) is a species other than Eurasian moose (Alces alces). The Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) is the race (subspecies) of the world's largest moose, while the Yellowstone moose (Alces alces shirasi) is the race of smaller moose. Adjustments to moose The moose has a number of adaptations that make life easier. The large, wide hooves of the moose with long fingers can be separated to provide greater stability so pairs to move comfortably on the soft ground or snow-covered lakes, swamps and ponds. The width and elongated snout allows the elk take the leaves and buds of trees. Habits of the Moose The moose are solitary animals, it is the least social of all deer. However, during the mating season (September-November), meet many individuals of this species and, in winter, they may form small flocks. In summer, moose live alone or in family groups. In winter, are grouped into small herds comprising from 5 to 10 individuals. During this period, there are violent and spectacular battles between males can become fatal for some of the combatants, because after being wounded the animal is easy prey for any carnivore. The moose is the only deer that feed on aquatic plants, for it introduces the whole head under water. Because it has very long legs, he is forced to kneel down to drink water or eat plants that grow at ground level. Therefore prefer the tall grass and shrubs to the short grass. Despite its huge size, the moose is an excellent swimmer able to swim several kilometers in a row and can even completely submerged under water. Not only does well in the water, on land is also very agile and can travel short distances at speeds over 50 km / h and jogging for a long time more than 30 km / h. The moose is much stronger than a horse. The moose is a diurnal animal, concentrating their activity during dawn and dusk. It is a sedentary species which is normally in the same territory. However, some populations of elk migrate to more favorable areas at different times of year. In Europe, they can migrate from more than 300 km away. Where does the moose? The moose lives in coniferous forests (taiga) Northern European, Asian and American northern hemisphere. Almost always near water, ie wetlands. Inhabit the circumpolar region (or area around the pole). The Eurasian moose is in the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland), north of Eastern Europe (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus), Russia and the northern tip of kazakhstan. The moose is also found in the North American continent, Canada, Alaska and part (northern) of the United States. Feeding elk The diet of moose consists of aquatic plants, shoots and leaves of willows, alders, birches and poplars, and also eat grass and ferns. Also consume shrubs and tall grass. You can not eat the grass because of the characteristic shape of the upper lip. It also consumes aquatic plants introduced to this head in the water. In winter, moose feed on shrubs and pine cones and moss and lichens, digging with his paws in the snow for it. The large lift forces him to consume daily more than 30 kg of plants. However, the moose is not fussy when feeding, so their high energy requirements will not pose too many problems. Reproduction of moose The moose is an animal poliginio, as a male mates with several females. The elk mating period is from September to November. Between September and October, elk emit a powerful roar males to attract females. Gestation lasts 9.5 elk months (38 weeks). The female gives birth in spring to early May, usually a single offspring. Rarely has 2 pups per litter. The moose are very protective mother and defend her little of any potential predator. However, at 10 to 11 months, coinciding with the next breeding season, the young leave their mothers. What enemies has the moose? The moose has few natural enemies and those who have are large and / or hunt in packs, like the wolf (Canis lupus), brown bear (Ursus arctos), black bear (Ursus americanus), cougar (Puma concolor ), tiger (Panthera tigris) and the lynx. The human being hunted for their horns, their meat or skin. The moose is a powerful and courageous opponent who does not hesitate to defend themselves against their enemies with its huge antlers. It is not an aggressive animal and avoid contact with humans, but may attack to defend their young or to defend their territory. Bears usually avoid confrontations with the ungulate and let the wolves struggle to steal finally shot the moose. The higher mortality of elk at the hands of his enemies occurs during the first year of life when it is still small and weak. The winter weather also causes a number of casualties. Traffic accidents or other causes also an important endanger the elk. In its first month of life, the offspring of elk may be forced drowning across the swift-flowing rivers or may be even trampled by his mother. When they escape, the young moose can be trapped between the trunks of trees. The accidental separation of mother and child causes a small percentage of casualties. Conservation of elk Although it has been subjected to intense hunting for centuries, there are still some 2,000,000 copies of elk distributed equally between Eurasia and North America. In Canada alone there are between 500,000 and 1,000,000 elk. Existing protection measures have led to a proliferation of new populations of elk. In Scandinavia, moose have adapted to live in the woods near the fields. In the past, moose occupied the forests of Central and Western Europe, but extensive hunting and environmental disruption Moose Utility The moose are hunted for their meat, skin and bones or as a simple sport. In Russia, the moose has been brought to hand a bottle to produce milk, meat, and animal sled or even a pet. In Sweden, we see a lot of moose meat, which is described by its people as the most aromatic and flavorful than beef or venison. However, the moose meat may be contaminated with lead in hunting areas when the animal ingests the pellet with aquatic plants from their diet. Facts about the moose In Russia, it was domesticated elk ban to prevent the deportees in Siberia might escape his captivity far using this animal. Peter the Great had the idea to wear a moose skin of several regiments of his army, but could not carry it out when it began to dwindle by this herbivore pressure she came under In Canada and Sweden there are many road signs with "Attention, passing moose." So much important the presence of elk in the Nordic countries like Sweden, and the dangers of motor traffic in the risk of collision that has developed the "elk test". The moose test is a test car that is performed to verify the stability of a car during the conduct of a sudden change of direction made to avoid a collision with an obstacle suddenly appears on the road, such as a moose or other wild animal. The moose is even more dangerous than the same grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). In fact, the female moose is the animal that kills more people in Canada. A mother moose not hesitate to attack to defend their young. Hart defends itself from its enemies charging and kicking. In winter, moose are the roadside eating salt is poured on the roads to prevent freezing. In this way they get an extra supply of sodium diet does not provide winter's low in sodium. The most famous moose Bullwinkle the moose, a cartoon character created in 1959.