7 Natural Predators of Moose


7 Natural Predators of Moose

Given their size, it is difficult to imagine that moose have any natural predators. You might be surprised to learn that other creatures can try to eat moose, therefore they must be cautious of them. So what species are moose’s primary predators?

Natural predators of Moose include wolves, bears, cougars, and orcas. These creatures can attack the Moose in packs and are very massive and powerful. A Moose’s sheer size, weight, and speed can provide some protection. However, they are solitary organisms that inhabit environments where carnivorous animals may find them prey.

Now that we’ve discussed orcas as potential moose predators, I know you’re curious. So continue reading if you want to discover more about Moose predators.

Seven natural predators of Moose

1. Wolves

One of the biggest predators of wild moose is the wolf. Unexpectedly, moose rely on wolves just as much.

Long-term research has been done on the interdependence of wolves and moose. On the remote Isle Royale in Lake Superior, scientists have been watching the interactions between the two species since 1958.

The results of this extensive observational study have provided insight into how Moose constitute a sizable portion of the wolves’ diet. However, the wolves help the moose by managing their population growth.

Although population control doesn’t seem like a good idea at first, it actually can be. Unchecked moose populations can cause disease, famine, and harm to surrounding human populations. Wolves are naturally able to control these.

A female moose or a calf is far more likely to be attacked by wolves. A sizable, robust pack is required if a giant bull moose is to be successfully hunted. Bulls that are fully grown are more likely to die from wolves if they are sick, injured, or old.

Large open wounds to the moose’s back parts are how wolves typically dispatch them. The intention is to kill the moose by inflicting significant blood loss. Wolves can attack moose by biting their noses, which renders them paralyzed.

Wolves frequently spend days and miles stalking their prey, the moose. Sometimes the moose will retaliate by charging or stampeding at the wolves. Most of the time, they will run away to protect themselves.

The moose will be warned that a place is unsafe for them by the scent of wolves and the remains of prior carcasses.

2. Bears

There are two distinct bear species that frequently prey on and kill moose. These are the American black bear and the grizzly brown bear.

Since they are omnivores, American black bears do not aggressively seek for moose to kill. However, if given the chance, they will consume them. Mostly newborn calves in their first few months of life will be affected by this. Adult moose can also be killed by black bears, but they often target females rather than males.

In North America, northern Europe, and Asia, brown bears prey on moose. They are the only other species, except wolves, that can prey on moose throughout all continents.

Normally, a brown bear will kill a moose by assuming control of a wolf kill just before it is finished. To pursue and exhaust a large moose, wolves have greater endurance than bears.

Because they are a much simpler target, juvenile moose will also be killed by brown bears on their own.

Moose may defend themselves from a surprise attack by a smaller bear by using their antlers. However, in the late winter, moose shed their antlers. This implies that they don’t always have antlers for protection, especially when bears emerge from hibernation in the early spring.

Bears and moose can both run at a full 35 mph, so when they share a range with brown bears, the moose need to be on their toes.

Polar bears have been reported to have killed moose in some instances. However, these two species don’t often coexist in the same habitat.

Amazing swimmers, polar bears have been known to drown moose who attempt to flee in the water. Although these attacks are less likely to be common and more likely to be opportunistic by a hungry polar bear.

3. Wolverines

Given the size disparity between the two creatures, a wolverine killing a moose can be extremely shocking. Wolverines are moose predators, but they need the ideal circumstances to make a kill.

An adult moose can be killed by a wolverine. However, they have to be sick or hurt for long enough for the wolverines to be able to overwhelm them. Wolverines can also aid in the killing of weak moose by starving them and exhausting them with heavy snow.

Wolverines are skilled at hunting prey in harsh winter conditions. Snow causes moose to move more slowly, which benefits the wolverine.

Wolverines may severely injure moose during a sustained attack thanks to their sharp claws, sturdy jaws, and potent fangs.

When moose are killed by other animals and left as carrion, wolverines frequently devour the meat. Because of this, wolverines frequently hang out with wolves, waiting for them to kill a moose.

4. Cougars

The vast majority of the prey that cougars kill have hooves. Cougars will also prey on moose if they are present in the same area.

Moose will be killed by cougars of both sexes. The female will primarily target young moose between the ages of one and two years old. Even yet, if they have a mother who is watching out for them, this could be dangerous for them.

More than any other hoofed animal, cougar males like to go in search of moose to kill. In fact, in Canada’s northern areas during the winter, moose can account for more than 90% of a male cougar’s diet.

Only adult moose in terrible condition will attract cougar attention. This has been demonstrated by studies looking into the bone marrow of moose that were cougar prey in Alberta.

Cougars will spot weak and starved moose and will typically ambush them to kill them. Typically, the cougar will spring onto the moose’s back and attack it in the neck with a vicious and crushing bite.

5. Siberian Tigers

Since it is not often known that tigers and moose reside in the same locations, they are not frequently recognized as natural moose predators.

In the same geographical region as the Siberian tiger, two subspecies of moose also exist in Siberia. The Siberian moose (Yakut) and West Siberian moose are these (Ussuri).

The Siberian tiger, the largest big cat species in the world, need massive prey to stay properly nourished. Moose are the ideal species of animal for Siberian tigers to feast on.

The Siberian tiger, like many other predators, frequently chooses to kill young, old, female, damaged, or sickly moose. A tiger can sustain significant injuries at the hands of a healthy adult bull moose due to the animal’s powerful legs or antlers.

An approaching tiger will stalk a moose as it forages among the forest before killing it. They will then leap upon the moose’s neck and bite down so hard that they suffocate them.

Because tigers and moose are both excellent swimmers, this presents a challenge for moose. This implies that they also target the moose along the streams.

6. Humans

Humans are the largest single animal to kill moose in large numbers. Big-game hunters kill a lot of moose every year—hundreds of thousands of them.

In most nations, moose population management is the primary justification for issuing hunting licenses. Moose can be considered a threat, especially if they live close to a community of humans and have the potential to be fatal or seriously hurt.

Numerous moose are also killed for their flesh, for pleasure, for their fur, and for trophies. In the world of large game hunting, they are incredibly popular targets due to the size of the kill.

In the USA, Canada, and Sweden, hunting for moose is very common. The most populous US state, Alaska, sees over 7000 moose slain annually. To reduce population levels, Sweden is believed to shoot about 100,000 moose annually.

It goes without saying that a person needs a weapon to kill a moose. Rifles or bows and arrows are the weapons of choice that are most frequently utilized.

Moose are typically taken down by hunters by shooting them in the heart or both lungs.

7. Orcas

As you wouldn’t generally put moose and orcas in the same habitat, this one can come as quite a surprise.

Nevertheless, moose are skilled swimmers and will cross bays and islands in northern Canada and Alaska.

Some nearby killer whales live in these deep waters and are seeking for prey. In comparison to their speed on land, moose move much more slowly in water. The moose will be killed as they swim because the orcas will take advantage of this.

Undoubtedly, orcas are big enough to fight a moose. Additionally, the moose are simple targets for hunters due to their weak aquatic defenses.

Since orcas are apex predators and will consume a wide range of aquatic creatures, this comes as no surprise. Because they are carnivores, orcas exclusively consume the flesh of other animals.

Orcas use a variety of methods for killing prey, including ramming, biting, and drowning. Orca bite marks can be seen on the flesh of moose carcasses that have washed up on the shore.

Orcas are opportunistic hunters, so even if they don’t usually hunt moose, they would probably do so if given the chance.

Final thoughts

Due to their enormous size, moose are less likely to become prey for many wild creatures. Even though they can live for up to 25 years, they are susceptible to large carnivorous creatures that aggressively hunt large prey.

The majority of these creatures are strong enough to use their jaws and claws to kill a moose. Others might employ the strength of a pack to launch a mass assault.

Predators are far more prone to prey on young, old, injured, and weak moose in the wild. Adult bulls and cows in good health are often powerful enough to repel the majority of assaults.

Nevertheless, moose are found in a variety of habitats and conditions, which makes them vulnerable to even seemingly unexpected predators like orcas.

These cunning predators target the moose’s weakness with their attack prowess before turning it into a sizable and appetizing meal.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author