Alces alces alces
Alce Europeo (Sp).
The European moose differs in several ways from the Siberian and North American forms (which resemble each other). Its coat is a lighter color, with less contrast and little seasonal change. Its nose is shorter and less humped, with the bare spot at the tip differently shaped, there are differences in the internal nasal structure, and the chromosome numbers differ.
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height 60-75 inches (152-191 cm). Weight about 1,100 pounds (500 kg). Females are smaller.Ungainly in appearance, with very long legs, a large shoulder hump, and a large head ending in a broad muzzle. The neck is so short and the legs so long that a moose cannot easily reach the ground to feed, nor can it drink without wading into the water. Ears are large and tail is very short. Hair is coarse and brittle. There is a mane on the shoulders and a growth of skin and hair (the "bell") hanging from its throat. General color is a uniform brown, with little seasonal change. Hindquarters, upper parts of legs, lower flanks, and belly are darker. Lower legs and back of legs tend to be whitish, and the muzzle is pale. Antlers grow out from the sides of the head and are essentially of two different types: flattened or palmate, with points growing from the forward, outer and top edges of the palms; and cervine, with branched points only. The chromosome number is 68, as compared with 70 in the eastern Asian and North American subspecies.
BEHAVIOR Usually solitary except when mating. Not territorial. Mating season is late September-early October, with bulls displaying and fighting for dominance, and taking one female at a time. Calves are born in the spring (usually twins, range 1-4). Females able to breed until age 20. Maximum known life span 27 years. Principal predators are wolves, and to a lesser extent brown bears.Mainly a browser of deciduous trees, notably willows, but also grazes. Feeds on aquatic vegetation by wading into lakes and rivers, often submerging completely to feed on the bottom. In winter eats conifer shoots, twigs and bark. Poor vision, with stationary objects seemingly not recognized. Sense of smell and hearing excellent. Active by day, with peaks at twilight. Excellent swimmer. Able to cross swamps where other animals would mire. Normal gait is a quiet, careful walk, but can run at good speed for considerable distance. Has great endurance. Silent except during rut, when the sexes call to each other with grunts and moans.Calves have been tamed in Sweden, the Baltic countries, and Russia. Moose have been domesticated in Russia for production of meat and milk, and also for use as a farm draft animal.
HABITAT Originally the northern coniferous (taiga) forest. Favors mixed forest and open ground, especially near lakes and rivers.
DISTRIBUTION Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Baltic countries, eastern Poland, and Belarus. Numerous and widely distributed in Russia west of the Ural Mountains, roughly between latitudes 63°-57°N. Occasional animals wander into other countries as well.European moose are also found in western Asia from the Ural Mountains to the Yenisei River.
REMARKS The moose population in Europe and Asia is estimated at more than a million. To Scandinavians, moose represent an economic crop to be harvested, the annual kill in Sweden being more than 150,000 animals. Hunted by driving, stalking, or trailing with an elk dog. The last two methods produce the best trophies.SCI has two methods for measuring moose antlers: palmate antlers should be measured by Method 25P, cervine antlers by Method 25C.