Confronted by a mouse or moose,
You turn green, she turns chartroose.
– OGDEN NASH
From “GOOD-BY NOW OR PARDON MY GAUNTLET”
My first encounter with the Moose (Alces alces) was in the Rockies in Colorado. It was mid-September and Fall was round the bend. We chanced upon a bull while driving through the Rocky Mountain National Park. As we clicked pictures it was joined by a cow.
|Moose rubbing its antlers against the brush signifying the beginning of the breeding season|
Moose are the largest deer and often the personification of raw power. They are even considered dim-witted if I were to go by a character in a comic series I used to read two decades ago. They are widely distributed in the northern reaches of USA, Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia. A race known as the Shiras Moose is found in the higher altitudes of America’s lower latitudes. Once the bull moose has mated it sheds its antlers to conserve energy for winter and regrows them next season. Cows do not sport antlers.
Moose are herbivores and their natural predators are bears and wolves. They have been hunted and humans have found use for everything from their meat to their scat — which, believe it or not, is often used in making jewelry.
Natural predation and game hunting has had little impact on moose population and this majestic beast continues to roam the northerly landscapes of the northern hemisphere.
And just by the way, Ogden Nash, who wrote those lines about the moose, also wrote this one about the elk, in which, of course, he also referred to the caribou — and the moose!
Moose makes me think of caribou,
And caribou of moose,
With, even from their point of view,
Why then, when I behold an elk,
Can I but think of Lawrence Welk?
Text and lead photo: Anand Yegnaswami
Other photos: Wikimedia Commons