Thursday 20 May 2010

Moose information & videos

A guest post, from someone who knows much about moose. In fact, our moose in Muskoka and Algonquin Park share many of the same characteristics and instincts of those on Isle Royale. (You must read Nevada Barr's books if you want a further acquaintance!)

Hi Jenn,

I enjoyed your post today, especially the part about the moose. But I would share some information that I know about Moose. This comes from studies done on Isle Royal, so it may be particular to that location due to its Island nature, but I imagine that many of these qualities are shared by all Moose alike. First, as these herbivores have discovered, in an unconscious moose-like way, that aquatic vegetation, that which grows under the surface of the water, contains three times more nutritive value and almost 3 times as much protein. Often by the end of a long winter most moose are very near starvation. Throughout the tail end of winter they will browse on just about anything to try and get some sustenance: bark, lichen, leaf buds tightly wrapped ready for spring eruption. When the new grasses begin to sprout in the springtime, they are better than nothing at all, and better than what a moose has been existing on during last few months.

Also since the aquatic vegetation has not had an opportunity to proliferate and certain locations have mud that is rich in sodium, many moose will eat the grasses and sedges in these particular nutrient rich areas. Many times Moose will get down on their knees, like the one pictured on your blog, in order to partake of sodium rich water, mud, and tender vegetation in order to bring their nutritive intake into balance.

Regarding the loss of hair at the animal's shoulders: many moose are heavily infested with ticks, often nearly 100 per square meter of skin. Often in the last parts of winter these pests so bother the moose that the animals will bite and chew where they can in an effort to rid themselves of this parasite. Often by the end of winter many moose look fairly bedraggled, having nipped away much of their fur in an effort to get at the insects plaguing them.

So when you see a moose such as the one seen in your blog, that is a survivor, one that has made it through a pretty harrowing winter. No wonder they don’t flee when people congregate at the side of the road to watch. Compared to what they have just survived (near starvation and pestilence of an untold manner) and in the case of Isle Royal – wolves, people don’t seem to matter much as a distraction.

I enjoyed your post and thought you might like to know more about moose.

John Whiting

I have learned a lot about moose since. Again, Algonquin Park has fabulous documents. The moose are hunted by wolves, as on Isle Royale, but they love the roads, highway #60 specifically, as they can escape the bugs in the forest and they find salt at the side of the road.

Moose are large herbivores, and so must find about 20 kg of plant food per day for maintenance and survival. Above these basic requirements, female Moose also need to find high quality food with high protein content if they are to be fertile and produce calves. 

Another factor in their survival, is a disease they get from the deer population. You can read a sampling of a book, giving more info, as well as an explanation about how the do a moose census.

Here are a pair of moose. Cathy, a great writer @ Life on the Muskoka River, says it is likely a mom and 2-yr. babe (yikes!). Videotaped in the morning near the east gate on the way to see our newborn grandbaby, born at home!

This guy was having a fun time in the bog. It only seemed antsy (if you'll excuse the bug reference) when a semi, a large, noisy truck, came down the road at great speeds, I might add.

You may think me strange for speaking baby talk, but I talk to all my animals that way, and just finished spending 10 days with our toddler granddaughter and newborn granddaughter. Those night feedings!


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Very informative. 20kg/day, wow, almost 45 pounds of food per day. That is a lot of leaves, grass, plants, etc.

MARY G said...

Neat! Thanks.