Moose Size Comparison: How Big Are They Really?
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- There are many moose of different sizes. For example, there are four moose subspecies in North America
- Compare moose to humans. Alaskan moose can often be over 7 feet tall. For comparison, that's an inch taller than Yao Ming, one of the tallest NBA players of all time!
- The average height of a horse is about 5 feet 4 inches, which means that the average Alaskan male moose will be a foot to a foot and a half taller at the shoulder.
Check out the photo below of a moose walking in front of a group of people. Moose are tall! But just how big are moose?
In this complete moose size comparison guide, we explore how moose compare to species like elk, horses and even humans.
Moose Size Comparison: Types of Moose
Before we get started, it's important to note that there are many different sizes of moose.
So, in general, how tall are moose? Moose vary in height.
There are four subspecies of moose in North America. In Europe, moose are known as elk (confusingly, we know!), and there are four other subspecies.
Here are some highlights of the different types of moose:
- The largest subspecies of moose is the Alaskan Yukon moose. Incredibly, the largest Alaskan moose ever recorded weighed 1,808 pounds. Alaskan moose have antlers over 80 inches!
- The largest Eurasian moose species is the East Siberian elk. These moose are only slightly smaller than the Alaskan moose and are reported to weigh over 1,600 pounds.
- Yellowstone moose are the smallest moose subspecies in North America. The National Park Service reports that male Yellowstone moose weigh about 1,000 pounds.
- The smallest subspecies of moose lives in the Amur region near the border between Russia and China. Even a "runt in the trash," this moose can stand about 6 feet tall!
With some standing over 7 feet at the shoulder and with an average weight between 800 and 1500 pounds, they are tall creatures.
Let's compare the height of a moose with other animals.
Five Cool Facts About Moose
Moose are fascinating creatures that inhabit the forests and wetlands of North America, Europe and Asia.
Here are five cool facts you might not know about these majestic animals:
- Moose are the largest deer species. Adult males, known as bulls, can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and stand more than 6 feet tall at the shoulder. The females, known as cows, are smaller but still impressive, typically weighing around 800 pounds.
- Moose are excellent swimmers. They have been known to travel across rivers and lakes in search of food and to avoid predators. In fact, their long, powerful legs and streamlined bodies make them great swimmers, and they can travel for miles in water.
- Moose noses are uniquely adaptable. They have a flap called a "bell" that closes to keep water out while swimming. The flaps also act as a sort of air conditioning system, allowing them to regulate the temperature and humidity of the air they take in.
- Moose have large, flat antlers. The antlers are shed and regrow each year and can be up to 6 feet wide in some species. They are used by males to attract mates and to compete with other males during the breeding season.
- Moose are herbivores, and their diet consists mainly of leaves, twigs, and bark. They are particularly fond of aquatic plants, such as water lilies, and will often wade into shallow water to reach them.
Moose are a truly unique and impressive species with many fascinating adaptations and behaviors. Whether you've encountered them in the wild, or just admired them from a distance, there's no denying that these animals are truly awe-inspiring.
Moose vs Human Size Comparison
You lose your way in the forested regions of northern Alaska when you emerge from behind a tree and find yourself standing face to face with a giant. This is a moose. Are you right?
Maybe if you're really tall !
So how tall are moose compared to humans? Alaskan moose can often reach over 7 feet tall. In fact, the largest Alaskan moose ever recorded measured 7 feet 7 inches at the shoulders! For comparison, that's an inch taller than Yao Ming, one of the tallest NBA players of all time!
But keep in mind that these dimensions of moose are just up to their shoulders. A moose that raises its head above the shoulders will stand taller. Given the size of the antlers, the hoof-to-antler height of a raised moose can be over 10 feet, which is taller than an NBA basketball hoop!
Moose vs Horse Size Comparison
Now that we've established that the tallest moose stands at about 7 feet 7 inches at the shoulder, how tall are moose compared to horses?
Horses are measured by their "withers," which is the ridge between their shoulder blades. The average thoroughbred is about 5 feet 4 inches tall at the shoulder, which means that the average Alaskan male moose is a foot to a foot and a half taller at the shoulder.
However, horses vary widely in height. The tallest horse was a Belgian gelding named Big Jack at 82.75 inches. This is a little under 7 feet tall. That means the tallest horse in the world is about the same height as a male Alaskan moose. However, its shoulders are still almost 9 inches shorter than the tallest moose ever!
Moose vs Elk Size Comparison
How tall are moose compared to elk, since the latter are really tall compared to most deer species? In fact, the former simply dwarfs these big deer.
Bull elk stand about 5 feet tall at the shoulder. That means standing next to a large Alaskan moose, they would be almost two feet shorter! Male elk weigh only about half the weight of an adult bull Alaskan moose.
However, comparing elk and moose side by side may not seem as obvious as expected. The range of North American elk does not extend into Alaska, which means that most interactions between elk and moose will occur with the much smaller Yellowstone moose, which stand nearly 6 feet tall at the shoulder.
Also, moose are huge. Some weigh up to 1,500 pounds and reach up to 7 feet at the shoulder . They have been known to have a more aggressive temperament than elk, but are mostly peaceful if left alone.
Moose vs Bison Size Comparison
It's time to take a look at another mighty herbivore, the bison. How does it perform when placed side by side with moose?
The heights are pretty close: A bull stands 6.5 feet at the shoulder, which means that these gigantic bovids could have stood at the same or even higher heights than the similarly gigantic deer found in Yellowstone.
In terms of sheer weight, bison are the clear winner, as an adult bull weighs just under 2,000 pounds, or 1,980 pounds. That makes the bull heavier than the largest moose ever built and twice the size of a Yellowstone male.
Moose vs Elephant Size Comparison
We were tired of the moose overwhelming all other size comparisons, so we ended up making it an unfair fight.
African elephants can be up to 13 feet wide at the shoulder, while Asian elephants can be up to 11 feet wide. However, there is one situation where elephants and moose meet eye to eye.
Like moose, male elephants are larger than females. The average height at the shoulder for a female Asian elephant is just under 8 feet. That means the largest bull moose ever seen stood next to an average female Asian elephant, which was about the same height at the shoulder.
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