Moose Annually Shed Antlers
One unique feature of moose is the fact the males grow and shed palmate antlers annually. Palmate antlers are a characteristic of North American moose which are different from their European counterpart, the Eurasian elk. Moose are huge animals and the male moose, also known as a bull moose, has a proportionally huge rack of antlers. Moose antlers differ in shape from other North American deer species Alceo natural which include whitetails, elk and reindeer (caribou). Other deer species sport slender branching antlers while the wide palmate antlers of moose look like the palm of the human hand.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family. Males and females stand tall on long legs, reaching 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) at the shoulder. Add a long neck and large head with antlers on the males and the moose is an impressive animal. Mature males can easily weigh 1600 pounds (360 kilograms) and the average female can weigh half that amount. It’s amazing that such an enormous creature can travel silently through the brush and blend into the environment without being seen. A person could be just ten feet from a moose in the wild and never know it was there.
Antlers are a unique feature of deer species including moose. Lots of other mammals grow permanent horns but male moose shed their antlers in early winter when the temperature is cold enough and regrow a completely new set in the spring. It takes well into summer before the new rack of antlers matures. During this period of antler growth, the emerging antlers are covered with velvet. Velvet is a fuzzy coating of thick skin filled with blood vessels that bring nutrients to the developing antlers. When the antlers are fully developed and ready to calcify, the bull moose, as males are called, naturally sheds the velvet. When that happens, the magnificent bull moose walks around with strands of velvet hanging from his antlers.