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The Elk or Moose

Alces alces

The elk or moose is the largest representative of the family Cervidae. It is a robust, long-legged and short-necked deer. It is generally a shy animal, but it can become unpredictable and aggressive. It is found in the northern regions of North America and Eurasia. Elk are distinguished by a hump on their shoulders and by a bell-shaped, hairy fold of skin on the lower part of their neck, which is up to 50 cm long. Their height at shoulder-level ranges from 168 to 235 cm. When grazing they consume more than 4 kg /per day of dry plant matter, which corresponds to 20,000 leaves. When they can find them, they will consume sodium-rich aquatic plants. In the autumn, during the breeding season, males fight fiercely for the females. Females give birth to one to three calves and care for them until the next time they give birth.

The elk specimen in the Museum is the largest in any European museum.