Watchable Wildlife Manitoba



Photo by Robert R. Taylor
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Moose are the largest member of the deer family, standing taller than a horse and weighing up to 600 kg. They have great hearing and sense of smell but their eyesight is poor. They are powerful swimmers and can dive as deep as five metres to forage plants on lake bottoms. You will often see them in water in summer—avoiding heat and bugs. Despite their bulk, moose are agile in all terrains, even snow. While they can be noisy in the brush if alarmed, they can also move very quietly, even the males with huge antlers.

Moose live mostly on twigs during the winter but come spring they dine on 25 to 30 kg of leaves, shrubs, twigs and water plants a day. Breeding season is September and with a good food supply the females often have twins in spring. The young stay with mom for a year.

Wolves and bears prey on moose but there is a greater danger to them—brain worm. The meningeal worm is a parasite that attacks the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is spread by white-tailed deer, which are carriers but not effected by it. It is deadly to moose and caribou. Where white-tailed deer have spread into moose and caribou habitat, there have been declines in their populations. 

Visit Riding Mountain National Park or Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park for your best opportunity to see moose.    

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