A moose (Alces alces; called elk in Europe) is a large deer. Some authorities put the American moose in a different species, Alces americanus.
A male moose is called a bull, a female moose is called a cow, and a young moose is called a calf. A group of moose is called a herd. The plural form of moose is "moose" and not "meese".
Moose live in northern Europe, Asia, and in North America. Moose usually live in areas with lakes, marshes and swamps. They also live in mountain ranges.
The moose lives across North America to northern Europe to Siberia. In Europe they live in Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). In North America they live in Canada, Alaska and northern parts of the contiguous United States. In 2008 they have been re-introduced to Scottish Highlands from Scandinavia.
Only approximate figures are known. There are about 115,000 moose in Finland, and about the same number in Norway. Alaska has about 200,000. Canada and Russia each have between 500,000 and one million. There are also some in the continental United States. The animal is therefore very widely distributed, with quite large numbers.
Moose are active during the day. They live alone, but in winter they sometimes form small groups. Moose eat grass, leaves, twigs, willow, birch, maple shoots and water plants. After a pregnancy of 8 months, the female gives birth to one or two babies. Females begin to have babies when they are between two and three years old. Young moose stay with their mother for a year; after one year they leave and live alone. Moose usually live to fifteen years old, but they can reach as old as twenty-seven years old. A mother moose will aggressively protect her young. Their enemies are bears and wolves, who hunt moose calves.
A full-grown moose has few natural enemies. Siberian tigers do prey on adult moose. Wolves can still pose a threat, especially to females with calves. Brown bears are also known to prey on moose, although bears are more likely to take over a wolf kill or to take young moose than to hunt adult moose on their own. American black bears and cougars can take moose calves in May and June and can, in rare instances, kill adults (mainly cows). Wolverine are most likely to eat moose as carrion but have killed moose, including adults, when the large ungulates are weakened by harsh winter conditions. Killer whales are the moose's only known marine predator as they have been known to prey on moose swimming between islands out of North America's Northwest Coast.
Moose and humans
Moose have been hunted by humans for a very long time, since the Stone Age.
Because of their dark coloured fur, moose are sometimes hit by cars since they are hard to see when they are crossing roads at night. In some countries like Canada, Finland and Sweden they have a moose sign and have fences around motorways.