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The Moose, (Alces alces,) was adopted as the Maine state animal in 1979. Moose, black bear, and white tailed deer are the three top big game animals in the state of Maine.
The moose is the world's largest member of the deer family. Moose mostly inhabit northern forests of North America, Europe, and Russia (in Europe they are called "elk")
The moose (North America) or Eurasian elk (Europe), (Alces alces) is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Moose used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities greatly reduced it over the years. Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. In North America it is found in wooded areas of Canada and the northern United States. Maximum size of a bull may stand more than 6 ft high at the shoulder and weigh more than 1400 lbs. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are wolves, bears, and humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.
The males bear enormous, broad, flattened antlers with prongs, or tines which can can attain a spread of 5 ft. or more. The antlers are shed each year after the mating season.
The body color of the moose varies from almost black to light brown, becoming greyish in winter. The legs are lighter in color than the body. The protruding muzzle and the long legs enable the animal to browse on brush and to wade into lakes and ponds to feed on aquatic plants. The shoulders of the moose are higher than the hindquarters, giving it a humpbacked appearance that is accentuated by the short neck.
In order to reach low-growing plants or to drink from a shallow pool, the moose is forced to kneel. It is an excellent swimmer. Moose generally are solitary, although they may form into small bands in winter and trample down the snow where good cover exists, making a moose yard where the animals stay while the food lasts.
During the mating season, bulls battle for the cows, and their roars may be heard for great distances. After a gestation of eight months, one to three calves are born; they stay with the mother for two years.
Thirty (30) interesting Moose facts.
The law designating the moose as the official Maine state animal is found in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 9, Subchapter1, Section 215
Title 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
Chapter 9: SEAL, MOTTO, EMBLEMS AND FLAGS
Subchapter 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§215. STATE ANIMAL
The state animal shall be the moose. [1979, c. 234, (NEW).]
1979, c. 234, (NEW).
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Moose
Genus: Alces - Gray, 1821
Species: A. alces