Being the largest member of the family of deer, moose are marvelous creatures that can be seen in the wild. Moose are best known for their unbelievable antlers. These can grow up to six feet in length and their weight is around forty pounds. In order to learn about these beautiful animals fully, you have to begin by knowing about their most distinguishing feature which is their antlers.
Why Do Moose Have Antlers?
The antlers of moose are huge which can be up to 60 inches wide and weigh about 40 pounds. Moose make use of their antlers during the breeding season to compete for their mating rights. Bull moose will scare off and fight other males with their antlers to prove their dominance over cows. Sometimes, they fight each other by locking their antlers.
When Do Moose Get Their Antlers?
In the spring and summer seasons, moose grow their antlers. They use them during the rut or breeding season in September or October. Only the male moose or bulls grow antlers. By the end of the summer, a male calf develops a bony protuberance. It persists through the first year. After the first development, moose grows antlers each spring or summer as long as it lives.
Do Female Moose Have Antlers?
Antlers are bony structures that develop on the skull of a male moose. Antlers are one of the basic features that separate male moose from female moose (i.e. cow). Hence, female moose or cow does not have antlers. However, due to some abnormal hormone production, antler-like structures can also develop in the female moose.
Bull Moose Lose Their Antlers Annually
Every winter, bull moose lose their antlers. And the following spring, they grow a brand-new set of antlers. As they grow, the fresh antlers remain covered in velvet. It delivers the blood which moose needs in order to develop. During the beginning of the mating season, moose begin to shed this layer of velvet. Now they get the shiny new antlers so that they can intimidate their competitors.
Moose antlers develop through a life cycle of growth
As a male moose matures, his antlers will also develop in size. They will grow big and fuller till he reaches around five years. When it is a yearling, a bull’s antlers begin with only two or three points and also small palms. Every season these will grow till the antlers form a protective arch over the face of the moose. It prevents damage to the eyes of a moose at the time of competing for mates.
What happens to moose antlers when they are grounded?
When the antlers of moose hit the ground, they start to deteriorate and lose their color. These are then chewed by the porcupines, squirrels, and rodents to gain the minerals and protein from the bone. For those who live near the wintering grounds, antler shed hunting is a favorite time pass.
During the fall mating season, the antlers display the stature and strength of a bull moose. A rival with a bigger rack can easily scare away and fend off a younger and weaker male moose. Therefore, the antlers of a moose are seldom used as a weapon.