Curtin, Charles B. Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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An even-toed ungulate (Artiodactyla) that is a member of the deer family, Cervidae. The moose (Alces alces) is the largest member of the family and ranges in the boreal forested areas throughout North America and in northern Eurasia. The moose is known as the elk in Europe and is believed by some authorities to be a race of the American moose (A. americana). The adult male is 1.8 m (6 ft) in height, weighs more than 550 kg (1200 lb), and has spatulate antlers that may be more than 1.8 m (6 ft) in width (see illustration). The legs are long, making the animal well adapted to its feeding habits of wading for aquatic plants and browsing on trees and bushes. Moose live in small groups during the summer, but tend to form larger groups for defense during the winter, especially because they are susceptible to predation from wolves and even wolverines. During the rutting season in early autumn, the male gathers a number of cows together and mating takes place. After a gestation period of approximately 37 weeks, one or two calves are born. The moose is a big-game animal, but hunting restrictions have helped to maintain its numbers. It is abundant in Canada and the northern United States. See also: Artiodactyla; Deer
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