Moose (Elk)

(Alces alces)




Facts about this animal

They are the largest members of the deer family with males weighing up to 600 kg and standing over 2 m at the shoulder. Males develop broad, shovel-shaped antlers, which they shed each winter and regrow in spring. They can measure up to 2 m wide from tip to tip. The head is huge and long, with a square upper lip that hangs over the lower one. Fur colour is dark brown, fading to light brown on the long legs.

Did you know?
that in ancient times it was thought that the moose has no joints in the hind leg? Hence, it never lies down, but has to recline against a tree while sleeping.


Name (Scientific) Alces alces
Name (English) Moose (Elk)
Name (French) Élan
Name (German) Elch
Name (Spanish) Alce
Local names Czech: Los
Estonian: Põder
Finish: Hirvi
Lithuanian: Briedis
Norwegian: Elg
Swedish: Älg
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Northern Asia, Europe and North America
Habitat Variously dense mixed forest and open forest-tundra, mostly around lakes, bogs and streams.
Wild population Widely distributed and abundant in most of its range, reaching 0.5 million individuals in Europe and 1.5 million in Scandinavia (IUCN Red List 2011)
Zoo population 139 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Moose (Elk)


How this animal should be transported

Hard antlers should be removed before transport under proper restraint and, where required, sedation. No deer with antlers in velvet at a stage of growth which could be damaged easily should be transported where there is a risk of injury.

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Daniel Meyer

Why do zoos keep this animal

The moose is not an endangered species but zoos keep it for its educational interest, to show an element of the native fauna in North America in Europe, because it is the largest deer species, and because of its many anatomical features diverging from other deer species.