Alces – Moose & elk

The largest and heaviest deer family members

One of the most striking features of Alces is their long faces and elongated muzzles, adaptations that facilitate their browsing diet. Another notable feature is the presence of a dewlap, or “bell,” a flap of skin that hangs beneath the throat. The bell’s function is not entirely understood, but it is speculated to play a role in communication during the breeding season or serve as a mechanism to shed water when the animal is feeding in aquatic environments.

Male moose are renowned for their impressive antlers, which are among the largest of any deer species. These antlers can span up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) from end to end and are shed and regrown annually. The antlers serve as a display of fitness to attract mates and as a weapon in battles with other males for dominance during the rut or mating season.

Moose are adapted to cold climates and are found across the northern regions of North America, extending through Canada into Alaska, and in Eurasia where they inhabit forests in Scandinavia, Russia, and northern parts of Asia. Their preference for forested areas near water bodies is linked to their diet and behavior. Moose are herbivores with a diet that includes a wide range of plant materials, from the bark and twigs of trees to aquatic vegetation found in ponds and streams. Their ability to feed on aquatic plants is facilitated by their long legs and ability to swim, allowing them to access food sources unavailable to other deer species.