In this blog, we will talk about deer.
Not the cute, small, meek creatures you’ll find grazing in the African savanna. Imagine a huge deer– larger than a lion, much taller and heavier. It has long legs, broad shoulders, and an impressive set of large and wide antlers. We will talk about the moose.
Moose are the largest members of the extended deer family. In fact, they are one of the largest mammals in the world and the tallest ones in North America. These large deer do not look much like the image of deer embedded in our minds. Nevertheless, they are just as deerish as they should be, except for their size.
Like all deer, moose are silent, non-aggressive, and solitary creatures who like living on their own amid plants and fruit. Their large size and formidable antlers are enough to ward off many predators. However, these massive creatures are not free from being preyed upon.
Spread across much of North America, moose are the natural prey of many predators that live in their range. Let’s talk about five natural predators that hunt and kill moose for prey.
Dangerous, relentless, and unforgiving– wolves are among the most efficient hunters in the wild. They might be smaller than other major predators like bears or lions. But they can be just as deadly, if not more.
And for wolves, the size of their prey doesn’t matter, either. Since they hunt in packs, killing a moose is not an impossible feat to achieve.
However, the size of the moose makes it difficult for the wolves to hunt them down. Due to this, wolves usually avoid the larger and stronger males (bull moose). Instead, they target the weaker moose, including the females (cow moose) and calves. Old and injured moose are also easy to bring down and, therefore, are often attacked.
The pack usually chases the target for hours, or even days, before the final attack. With their signature coordinated attack, the wolves surround the moose from all directions. They often attack the rear parts, causing intense blood loss, which makes it easier for them to overpower the moose.
The moose sometimes fights back by kicking or stomping but usually finds it best to run away, if possible.
We don’t have to tell you how dangerous bears can be, do we? Though an omnivore, a bear can be an extremely dangerous predator when it makes up its mind to hunt. And as far as moose are concerned, bears occasionally prey upon them if they feel the need.
But it’s never easy for a bear to kill a moose. After all, we can’t forget the sheer size difference between the two animals. And since bears don’t hunt in groups, they mostly target the younger or injured moose.
The bears that usually prey upon moose are the American Black Bears and the Grizzlies. While these bears can also kill an adult moose, they don’t target the males. With its large body and massive palmate antlers, a fully-grown bull moose is never easy to overpower.
A bull moose can deliver deadly blows to a bear by kicking and stomping incessantly and attacking with its antlers. Besides, moose can run about 35 miles per hour. While a bear can sometimes reach that speed, it doesn’t have the stamina to maintain it for long.
With that said, bears are more likely to win a fight with the moose. Their innate hunting capabilities often win over the moose’s survival instincts.
Killer Whales (Orcas)
Before you start wondering, we know that orcas are water animals. And moose live on land. But did we tell you that moose are born swimmers?
Yes, that’s true. And not just that. They can dive up to 20 feet underwater and swim six miles per hour. That’s why you would often find them in the waters during summer. They like to cool themselves off.
But the waters are also home to Killer Whales, aka Orcas. And killer whales stay true to their name when it comes to killing moose. Well, that’s not a surprise, given that killer whales are highly efficient at killing most animals they want to kill.
But orcas don’t actively hunt or kill moose. Most cases of orcas hunting moose occur when a moose is on the way from one island to another. The orcas usually kill a moose by biting or drowning them in water. Since water is not the moose’s natural habitat, the moose cannot defend itself from an orca.
We like jokes (who doesn’t?) but are also very serious about work. So, if you think we have put wolverines on this list by mistake or for fun, think again.
Wolverines usually weigh around 25-40 pounds, which means killing a fully-grown adult moose is nothing short of a dream. However, due to their intelligent minds and great endurance, wolverines can kill a vulnerable moose in the right conditions.
Killing a moose is not always possible for a wolverine for obvious reasons. But sometimes, when the opportunity presents itself– often in winter– wolverines can kill an injured moose with the proper effort.
This mainly happens as moose become less active during winter due to the lack of food. And add to that the fact that bull moose lose their antlers in winter. Add these two things together, and you get a vulnerable moose prone to attacks. And when a wolverine– skilled at killing in the cold– sees an injured moose, it is a golden opportunity. And you know what happens next.
Another surprise? Hardly. In case you don’t know, moose are not endemic to North America. They are also found across the temperate and subarctic regions of Russia, Poland, and other countries.
The eastern part of Russia is a common home for both animals – Siberian Tigers and Moose. The Siberian tigers are the largest tiger species. And to feed their large and powerful bodies, moose are just the right food.
Now, we can’t question the hunting capabilities of Siberian Tigers, can we? The Siberian tigers are capable of killing even an adult male moose. Nevertheless, they stick with finding a comparatively weaker moose to avoid a harmful encounter. Remember those large sets of antlers? A male moose can inflict severe injuries even on a Siberian tiger.
The tigers hunt down moose in their characteristic stalk-and-ambush method. However, since the moose is a solitary creature, finding them is not very easy. And due to this reason, it is not common for Siberian tigers to prey on moose.
Wait a minute
After talking about all these dangerous predators, we just have to say one thing: life as a moose is not easy! However, we are yet to talk about the most dangerous predators of these wild beasts: us.
But we don’t have to talk about humans here. After all, which animal is safe from humans’ deadly claws of greed? Moose are just another species of animal that is preyed upon by us. We kill them for their skin and bones. We kill them for their antlers. In fact, we even kill them for fun!
In the end, we only hope for the end of human interference in the natural food chain of moose and its predators.
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