Difference Between Elk and Moose – 7 Fascinating Facts

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Is there a difference between Elk and Moose? Well, read on because you will be surprised to find out about these facts.

As the human population increases, there is a vast demand and pressure to get resources.

Man requires more land and water for cultivation and habitation, and in the race to achieve all this, he is capturing a large area of forest land.

But have you ever thought that the fascinating creatures living on these forest lands are being robbed of their surroundings?

We always enjoy riding through a forest range or a natural habitat. One of the fascinating animals to catch your attention would be the sprinting deer, who would suddenly dart out in front of your car.

Deer are found all over the world except Antarctica. They can live in different wild habitats, from warm plains to wet rainforests, mountainous regions, and aquatic vegetation.

It is an herbivore mammal that was initially found only in Asia, Europe, Northern Africa, North America, and South America. But later they were found in all the other countries as well.

Deer grow antlers annually. They can be distinguished from many species because of their antlers. Even though these antlers look like horns, they do not have keratin.

Deer herd Photo by Chris F from Pexels. Copyright 2020

It derives its name from the family name “Cervidae.” Many more common species include white-tailed, reindeer, Sambar, elk, mule deer, and moose.

So, let’s find out some exciting facts about the difference between elk and moose.

Difference Between Elk and Moose

Let’s be a little honest.

Many humans would just not have even wondered how these animals are different. The elk and moose both look a lot alike, and it’s not because we need glasses or have eyesight issues that we cannot find out the key differences between these two.

The elk and moose share features because they belong to the same taxonomy Cervidae (Deer family). So, let’s start by knowing more about the difference between elk and moose.

1. Family

Even though both moose and elk belong to the same Cervidae family, there are differences in their subfamilies. Moose (Alces Alces) is from the subfamily Capreolinae known as New World Deer. Elk (Cervus Canadensis) belongs to the subfamily Cervinae known as Old World Deer.

The animals of these two subfamilies differ basically in their animal bone and ankle structure.

2. Size

The main difference between elk and moose is literally in size.

Moose are much heavier and taller than elk. The height of mature bull moose would range between 5-7 feet at the shoulder, and the weight of moose range between 840-1550 pounds.

Difference Between Elk and Moose
Bull Moose Photo by Pixabay from Pexels. Copyright 2016

Even though they are pretty significant in their own right, Elk stand at 4-5 feet at the shoulder and weigh between 485-730 pounds.

3. Antlers

Bull moose antlers are large in shape that can be more than 6 feet long, and they’re open, broad, and flat antler beams in the front that often grow from the outer edge.

Moose’s antlers are shed during winter to conserve energy and regrown completely within 3-5months during spring. Usually, the diameter of the main beam is used to determine the age of the moose instead of the number of points.

Difference Between Elk and Moose
Broad Antlers of Moose Photo by Pixabay from Pexels. Copyright 2020

Elk tends to have reasonably thin pointed antlers similar to deer that grow to around 4 feet. The male elk sheds its antlers during early spring when their testosterone levels are the lowest. The new set of antlers of the elk begins to grow nearly as soon as the old ones have dropped off.

Difference between Elk and Moose
Thin Pointed Antlers of Elk Photo by Jonathan Lajoie from Pexels. Copyright 2021

4. Other Physical Characteristics

Moose and elk have different coat patterns. Moose has a typically dark brown coat compared to the light brown of the elk and lacks the light rump coloring that the elk possesses.

The moose has a large round or bulbous nose compared to the elk’s pointed nose.

The moose has a flapping piece of skin under its throat called dewlap or bell. This is a unique feature of moose that is not present in elk.

5. Hooves and Track Marks

Most hunters generally find the difference between elk and moose based on their track marks. The hunter uses this information during his wild hunting activity as both elk and moose are much sought after for their game meat and antlers.

Elk usually leaves a pointed footprint about 4inches long and 3inches broad, whereas moose have more enormous footprints that can be about 1-3inches longer than that of the bull elk.

The elk’s hooves tip is a bit blunted and tooth-shaped as they are designed to travel longer. Moose have heart-shaped hooves similar to deer as they have a different migratory pattern.

6. Social Characteristics

Moose are solitary animals except during mating or rarely move in small numbers. When moose are traveling in pairs or herds, it is generally because they are walking with their young.

Elk gathers and move in herds and typically flees at the sight of humans, whereas the moose is most unlikely to flee, making them an easy animal target to kill.

7. Habitat

The difference between elk and moose in their habitat is that moose prefer to live around rivers, lakes, or ground that are rich in aquatic plants and willows. Elks live around parks, meadows, rivers, fishing areas, the Rocky Mountains, and foothills.

Difference between Elk and Moose
Elk Standing Near Tall Trees Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels. Copyright 2020

Moose are found primarily in Alaska, Canada, Estonia, Fennoscandia, Latvia, New England, and Russia. Elk is a native species of North America, especially around Colorado and Eastern Asia, and of late in some other parts of Australia.

During every hunting season around Colorado, Parks and Wildlife officers often catch violators of wildlife regulations and hunting laws trying to kill moose or elk’s species. Some of them are for violations that are minor and could be avoided.

We hope you have managed to understand the main difference between elk and moose, but both these animals would look very similar from a distance. But if still some doubts do exist, go through our binocular read above and find out the difference between elk and moose.

Also check out, How Far is Alaska from Russia

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