Date: July 2015
Place: Nesbyen, Norway
These cute little guys are the calves of the moose, also called elk (Alces alces). Like the “predatory superstars” described in the previous blog post, I have met them this summer in Langedrag Nature Park in Nesbyen, Norway.Moose is considered to be the largest existing species of the deer family (Cervidae). An adult moose can reach up to 2 m high at the shoulder and weigh up to 700 kg. Its main distinguishing feature, the palmate antlers, can have a span of up to 1.5 m. These giant deer live in boreal and mixed deciduous forests across the Northern Hemisphere. You can meet them in Canada, Alaska and northern parts of the US, the Scandinavian and Baltic States, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, and northern Ukraine. But in contrast to many other deer species, moose prefer solitude and do not live in herds.
Moose is an herbivore feeding mostly on forbs and fresh shoots from such trees as birch and willow. For grabbing tree branches and pulling forbs these mammals have very sensitive prehensile upper lip. They also like chewing on aquatic and underwater plants. In fact, moose are the only deer species capable of eating underwater. To make it possible, their nose has special pads and muscles that close the nostrils and prevent water from entering the nose.Moose is hunted for meat, and this has significantly reduced their original widespread population. However, due to some conservation and reintroduction programs their population is not threatened anymore. There are also a number of programs to domesticate these animals, but this is not a widespread phenomenon. So, moose continue to roam in the wild and be admired for their might and uniqueness.