This postcard shows a European elk or moose.
This majestic forest dweller is known as a moose in North America and an elk in Europe.
To make matters even more confusing, an elk in North America is an entirely different animal...a kind of deer, also known as a wapiti.
Some information about the European elk or moose:
- Moose are found in large numbers throughout Finland. In 2009, Finland had a population of 115,000 moose.
- An adult moose stands an average of 4.6-6.9 feet high at the shoulder.
- A male moose (or "bull") typically weighs 840-1,540 pounds. A female moose (or "cow") typically weighs 440-790 pounds.
- The moose is the second largest land animal in both North America and Europe. (The bison is the largest.)
- 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. Moose can reach speeds of up to almost 33 miles per hour.
- Predators of the moose are wolves, bears, and humans.
- The moose is an herbivore and prefers the new growth from deciduous trees and aquatic plants such as lilies and pondweed. (The moose is an excellent swimmer.) A moose weighing 790 pounds can eat up to 71 pounds of food per day.
- A male moose has antlers which can grow up to more than 6.5 feet from tip to tip. After the mating season, he drops his antlers to conserve energy for the winter. Then, a new set of antlers regrows in the spring. Antlers take three to five months to fully develop.
- A female moose has an eight-month gestation period, and she usually bears one young (or "calf") in May or June. A calf weighs approximately 28 pounds at birth.
- A newborn moose has fur with a reddish hue. (An adult moose has light brown to dark brown fur.) The calf will stay with the mother until just before the next young is born.
- The moose has an average life span of approximately 15-25 years.