Canadian Wildlife - - LOCAL HERO -

From Hin­ter­land Who’s Who,

Moose have long, slim legs that end in cloven hooves and dew­claws that spread when walk­ing through soft muskeg or snow.

The pen­dant of fur-cov­ered skin hang­ing from the throat, about 30 cm long, is called a bell or dewlap.

The eye­sight of the moose is ex­tremely poor; its senses of smell and hear­ing com­pen­sate.

With their phys­i­cal strength and long legs, moose can travel over al­most any ter­rain, over dead­fall trees or through snow that would stop a deer or wolf.

De­spite their great size even full-grown, antlered bulls can move al­most as silently as a cat through dense forest but when fright­ened they may crash nois­ily through the un­der­brush.

The breed­ing sea­son, or rut, be­gins in mid­septem­ber. On a good range, more than 90 per­cent of the cows be­come preg­nant and up to 30 per­cent bear twins. (When the food sup­ply is poor, rates of preg­nancy can drop to 50 per­cent, and the twin­ning rate al­most to zero.)

At birth a calf moose is tiny. If it is one of twins it may weigh 6 kg; if born singly, be­tween 11 and 16 kg.

Off­spring are un­gainly copies of their par­ents. They are help­less at birth and are kept se­cluded for a cou­ple of days. By then it can out­run a hu­man and swim read­ily. Dur­ing the first month af­ter birth it may gain more than half a kilo­gram a day, and later in the sum­mer more than 2 kg a day.

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