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Moose Calves with their Mother

Issue: 60 Section: Baby Animals Geography: Canada, Europe Canada Topics: Baby Animals

July 23, 2009

Moose Calves with their Mother

baby animals: things that make you go "aww..."

The largest mammal in the deer family, the North American Moose (Alces alces americanus) has long lived throughout most of Canada and the northeastern United States.

The word moose comes from the Algonquin Eastern Abenaki name moz, which loosely means "twig eater."

Moose cows remain pregnant for eight months, after which time they generally give birth to just one calf, although twins and triplets have been known to occur. Although moose are usually loners, a very a strong bond is formed between a mother and her calves, who learn to walk and follow her around almost immediately after being born. Young moose tend to stay close to their mother until just before she next gives birth.

Newborn moose begin by drinking their mother's milk and quickly work up to eating plants. The moose is a strict herbivore; most of its diet is made up of woody plant material like the tips of twigs, fresh leaves and shoots, which it is able to pull sideways through its mouth, often stripping off up to half-a-metre of plant life with its rough, dense tongue and lips.

Moose have few natural enemies, but wolf packs sometimes pose a threat to mothers alone with their young. A moose will become paralyzed with pain if its extremely sensitive nose is bitten by wolves or other attackers.

Moose bulls are highly distinguishable by their wide, outstretched palmate antlers. After mating season, the male will shed its antlers to conserve energy over the winter, and a new pair will grow when spring comes. A male calf is born with two tiny bumps on its head from which his first pair of antlers will grow.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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