LAND MAMMAL

Moose (Alces alces)

As the largest member of the deer family, the moose is built to live in rough country. A male can weigh more than half a ton with an antler spread of up to 6 feet. Losing these antlers each winter, he grows a new set in the spring. Moose wade into rivers and lakes each summer to eat water plants. In the winter, they feed on twigs and bark. Mating lasts from early September to late October with 1 to 2 calves being born eight months later. A calf stays with its mother for a year. Ordinarily, an adult moose will live alone. Distinctive features include long, dark brown hair, drooping upper lips, high, humped shoulders and long legs. Hanging under the throat is a flap of hair-covered skin that sometimes reaches 2 feet. Adopted in1998, Alaska’s moose are most abundant on timberline plateaus, in second-growth birch forests and along major rivers of Southcentral and the Interior.

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