Moose are the largest species of deer, capable of growing more than 7 feet tall. These giant animals are usually found in cold areas with forests and shrubs, but they can also be seen in human habitats.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the 8 types of moose.
- European Elk
- Yakutia Elk
- Ussuri Elk
- East Siberian Elk
- Eastern Moose
- Western Moose
- Alaskan Moose
- Yellowstone Moose
1. European Elk
Scientific name: A. a. alces
To clear up any misinterpretations, know that the terms ‘moose’ and ‘elk’ are often used interchangeably. However, there is a species of deer called the elk which belongs to the Cervus genus.
Moose, including the four species on this list that are called ‘elk’, belong to the Alces genus. Even though they have the word ‘elk’ in their names, they’re not really elk.
European elk are possibly the largest terrestrial animals in Europe, and it’s mostly found in northeastern parts of Europe.
This animal can grow to a staggering 6 feet and 11 inches (at shoulder height) and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
Just like all other moose, these types of moose in Europe are browsers, mostly feeding on foliage, shrub, and tree stems, as well as any fruit they can find.
Because they feed on young tree shoots, they can be severely damaging to forests and their populations need to be controlled.
2. Yakutia Elk
Scientific name: A. a. pfizenmayeri
Also known under the name ‘mid-Siberian elk’, this moose is only found in central and eastern Siberia (although they’re rarer in central Siberia). Out of all moose, Yakutia elk is the most common species in Asia.
These types of moose in Asia are a bit shorter than European elk, as they stand up to 6 feet and 7 inches. However, they’re usually heavier, weighing up to 1,300 pounds.
The only natural predators (aside from humans) are wolves and bears, but because of their size, moose are generally very difficult to take down.
3. Ussuri Elk
Scientific name: A. a. cameloides
These moose are the smallest moose in the world, rarely growing taller than 6 feet at shoulder height. Their bodies and heads are smaller, while their legs are noticeably shorter in comparison to other subspecies.
Interestingly, their antlers are underwhelming for moose standards! There are moose with 6-feet-wide antlers, but the antlers of these moose only grow up to 40 inches in width.
4. East Siberian Elk
Scientific name: A. a. buturlini
The final species of moose in Eurasia, these animals are only found in the easternmost parts of the continent. They can grow up to 7 feet in height and weigh up to 1,600 pounds, making them the biggest type of moose in Asia.
Their antlers are incredibly large and heavy, weighing up to 50 pounds and measuring up to 50 inches in length. Given that they live in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, these animals live extremely solitary and isolated lives.
5. Eastern Moose
Scientific name: A. a. americana
This subspecies is found in eastern Canada, New England, Maine, and even northern parts of the State of New York.
They can grow up to 6 feet and 6 inches, weighing up to 1,400 pounds. Because of their size, they need to consume copious amounts of food to survive – up to 71 pounds a day.
Even though they’re not as large as some other subspecies, these types of moose in Maine can still be a threat to humans during mating periods, which is when males become aggressive. However, provided that they have a choice, moose will avoid humans.
6. Western Moose
Scientific name: A. a. andersoni
On top of being found in the Canadian Arctic, the Western Provinces, and parts of the northwestern United States, these animals were also introduced to New Zealand. They can grow up to 6 feet and 6 inches, while their antlers can be 5 feet and 6 inches wide.
They mostly feed on forbs and shoots that they find in forests and meadows that they continuously graze. The mouth of the western moose is completely adapted for chewing hard vegetation – they have sharp incisors, a tough tongue, and tough lips.
These types of moose in Montana are mostly solitary animals that only come together when it’s time to mate.
7. Alaskan Moose
Scientific name: A. a. gigas
Alaskan moose is the biggest type of moose in the world, growing up to 7 feet and 6 inches at the shoulder and weighing over 1800 pounds. The span of their antlers can almost reach 6 feet.
These massive animals are only found in Alaska – seemingly in every corner of the state – where they usually stay close to rivers.
They mate once a year and fights between the males determine which one gets the right to mate, as the loser has to wait another year before mating.
8. Yellowstone Moose
Scientific name: A. a. shirasi
This species is the smallest species of moose found in North America, growing up to 7 feet in height, and rarely weighing more than 1000 pounds, which is light for a moose.
These moose are found in Idaho, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Washington, where they mostly feed on aquatic plants and subalpine fir (depending on the season).
During the winter, some of these types of moose in Colorado will migrate to lower elevations where more vegetation is available.
Moose are one of the few living remnants of a time before man, and their size only emphasizes that. These giants are by no means gentle when encountered, but they’re not aggressive unless confronted and conflicts with people aren’t common.
Moose are generally well conserved, and because of their large numbers, hunting is allowed to control their population.