The Largest Deer in the World
Moose are the largest deer of all the deer species. Males are immediately recognizable by their huge antlers, which can spread 6 feet (1.8 meters) from end to end. Moose have long faces and muzzles that dangle over their chins. A flap of skin known as a bell sways beneath each moose’s throat.
Moose are distinguished by the palmateantlers
of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic (“twig-like”) configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. This largest deer used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities greatly reduced it over the years.
Moose as the largest deer have been re-introduced to some of their former habitats. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are wolves, bears, and humans. Unlike most other deer species, this largest deer are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly fast if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for the right to mate with a particular female.
Moose are so tall that they prefer to browse higher grasses and shrubs because lowering their heads to ground level can be difficult. In winter the largest deer eat shrubs and pinecones, but they also scrape snow with their large hooves to clear areas for browsing on mosses and lichens. These hooves also act as snowshoes to support the heavy animals in soft snow and in muddy or marshy ground.
Moose are similarly nimble on land. They can run up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances, and trot steadily at 20 miles (32 kilometers) an hour. Females give birth to one or two calves in the spring, each weighing some 30 pounds (14 kilograms). These calves grow quickly and can outrun a person by the time they are just five days old. Young of the largest deer or moose stay with their mothers until the following mating season.