This was going to be about squirrels, my nemesis in Dover, but now I’m thinking of Bullwinkle and his kin.
After all, I am living on Moose Island, not that I’ve seen any in town yet. But then I’m not seeing many squirrels here, either. Instead, it’s mostly deer.
Now, for the star of today’s show.
- Moose are the biggest member of the deer family and, unlike the others, prefer to be solitary rather than in herds.
- A bull can weigh in at up to 1,500 pounds, while a cow can be up to 1,000 pounds.
- Their broad, “open-hand” shaped antlers (not horns) can stretch up to six feet end to end.
- Calves stay with their mothers for a year or more but are weaned at five months.
- Their mothers are quite protective and have been known to kill bears with their kicks.
- They’re adept swimmers and can trot at up to 35 miles an hour, despite their slow-moving, sedentary, and dumb image.
- They’re a road hazard. They’re drawn to the pavement for the salt that’s been spread to melt snow and ice. And then they think they can outdo a car or truck, not that they don’t do some serious damage.
- A bull can eat up to 71 pounds of food a day – half of it aquatic plants needed to balance the bark in their diet.
- The fall mating season includes energetic fights between bulls over a desired cow.
- Their hide is often covered with a blanket of thousands of parasitic winter ticks, which stay attached for up to six months, sapping a moose of energy, blood, and hair. They’re the leading cause of death in moose less than a year old and diminish adult cow reproduction.