• Autumn photo of Lake Clark and the Aleutian Range in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

    Lake Clark

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Moose

Moose-NatureScience_Jalone
Bull moose shed their antlers every winter.
K.Jalone/NPS
 

Moose (Alces alces) are the largest member of the deer family. They, along with caribou, are the only members of the deer family in the Lake Clark area. Moose are found below treeline in transition areas between forest and tundra, between aquatic and terrestrial environments, and in areas that have been burned or disturbed.

An adult male (bull) moose can weigh as much as 1,600 pounds and females (cows) can reach 1,300 pounds. They have extremely long legs that enable them to wade into lakes and rivers and through deep snow. Their hair ranges from golden brown to nearly black and they have a very large head with a dewlap of skin, called a "bell," under the chin. Only the bulls have antlers which are shed each winter after the mating season.

Moose breed in the fall and one to three calves are born in May or June. The diet of moose varies widely between the seasons. During the fall and winter, moose consume large quantities of willow, birch, and aspen twigs. In the spring and summer they eat sedges, horsetail, grasses and aquatic vegetation.

Park wildlife biologists regularly conduct surveys of moose in the interior of the park and preserve and have found the populations have been on the decline since the late 1990s.

Did You Know?

Antlers are covered with velvet while still growing - the velvet contains blood vessels that bring nutrients to the growing tissue.

Female caribou have antlers, but female moose do not. Male moose and all caribou shed their antlers in the late fall or early winter, and grow new antlers in the spring. Caribou and moose are the only two members of the deer family found in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.