Given their size, one may anticipate that moose would have a long lifespan. But have you ever thought about how challenging it is to estimate a moose’s age? You might now be wondering how long a moose lives.
A wild moose typically lives for 10 to 12 years. Given that moose do not fare well in captivity, it is challenging to estimate their longevity. A moose’s first year of life is typically marked by death for about half of them. The longevity of a moose is influenced by a number of things. Included in this are their habitat, health, and predators.
Now, you might find it fascinating that some moose die at an early age while others can live for a very long time. Everything you need to know about a moose’s life span will be covered in this tutorial. You’ll discover the difficulties that moose must overcome in order to survive.
How long does a moose live in the wild?
Among the deer species, moose have one of the highest survival rates. Although it has been said that moose can live up to 25 years old, there is no confirmed evidence of this.
However, not all moose will live to that age just because some of them can. Unfortunately, moose newborn mortality is 50%. They are more susceptible to the severe circumstances in the outdoors at this time.
Moose have a far higher chance of surviving once they reach adulthood. Moose are fairly tough animals, which allows them to live longer than most deer species.
There are eight recognized subspecies of moose, and they can be found all around the globe. Depending on their habitats and how they interact with humans, their chances of surviving may vary.
Let’s examine the elements that influence a moose’s ability to survive in the wild.
Factors Affecting moose lifespan
1. Food Sources
The survival of moose faces a serious challenge from finding an adequate food supply. A moose’s primary cause of death at any stage of life is starvation.
Due to their size, moose require a huge amount of food to stay active and healthy.
The majority of a moose’s diet consists of water plants and twigs. Compared to other deer species, which will consume a variety of foods, this is rather different. However, moose have evolved to survive in colder environments where it is more difficult to find fresh grass.
The issue with moose is that they require tremendous amounts of food. Each day, they might require up to 60 pounds of plants. There will be much less food available if the moose population is too large in the area. Due to this, moose are more likely to starve to death, especially during the winter when there are fewer natural food sources available.
When food is abundant in the spring, summer, and fall, moose will overeat as an adaptation to this situation. This aids in the development of an emergency fat reserve that they can draw upon for energy during the winter months when food is scarce.
Moose in need of food may look for it in populated areas. This may cause them to consume a diet that is inadequate in nutrients. Additionally, it may put them in danger when they engage with people.
Predators of common moose include:
That final one might come as a big surprise. Although they spend a lot of time in the water in search of tasty food sources, moose are great swimmers. When they swim between islands off the coast of Northwest America, this makes them a prime target for coastal orcas.
Predators often only take in moose that are under six months old. An infant moose is significantly simpler for wolves and coyotes to kill than an adult bull moose. Large males are additionally protected by their sheer size, antlers, and hooves. Elderly, ill, or hurt moose are other moose that are vulnerable to predators.
For protection, young moose frequently remain with their mother until they are about 18 months old. Female moose are very protective of their calves and frequently suffer injuries or lose their lives while doing so.
Moose also have to deal with hunting by people. Big game hunters prize moose for their size, which makes them highly sought-after. Numerous moose are hunted for sport, meat, trophy, and fur.
Humans may also kill moose if they are deemed dangerous or if their population needs to be reduced. Tens of thousands of moose are murdered annually in the USA and Canada. They are also known to kill about 100,000 moose annually in Sweden.
States are frequently compelled to modify moose hunting licenses in accordance with population density. When the local moose populations have had a difficult year, several yearly hunts have previously been completely canceled.
The overall health of a moose will have a significant impact on how long they survive. They are susceptible to a number of illnesses and parasites like wild animals, which can result in ill health and even death. The largest danger to moose numbers appears to be parasites.
Common parasites that moose pick up include:
- Mind worm
- Viral Hepatitis
- Winter Ticks
For moose, these parasites are frequently lethal. This is the result of signs and symptoms such anemia, weight loss, anorexia, and disorientation. Due to their weakness and inability to hunt for food or fend off predators, these all have an impact on the moose’s capacity to endure the harsh winter.
Most diseases that plague deer herds are typically avoidable by moose. That’s as a result of the fact that they spend the most of their lives alone. Although the crippling ailment known as Chronic Wasting Disease is one illness that moose can catch (CWD). By coming into contact with animal bodily fluids in soil or plants, this virus can be transmitted to moose.
Moose may be substantially more prone to injuries due to their living conditions. An injured moose has a higher chance of dying since it can’t escape predators and may get a fatal illness.
The risk of harm is higher for moles living close to cities than for those in more rural settings. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury among moose. This is due to the fact that moose frequently travel across open roads or railroad lines in regions with a lot of snow. They run a higher danger of getting struck by a car or train as a result.
Only about 55% of moose are killed in car accidents. But even the survivors often have fatal internal wounds, fractured bones, or open wounds.
Gunshots or traps meant to scare away moose or other animals are another human-caused harm that they may experience.
When moose flee from predators, they are also susceptible to severe injuries. Moose predators easily produce big wounds that can become infected because of their keen claws and fangs.
The moose antlers may become damaged by males rutting during the breeding season, leading to an early shed. Antler deformities caused by male testicular injury can have serious health consequences.
Moose are quite sensitive to even slight climatic changes. They can survive in subarctic and temperate climates thanks to their adaptations. They prefer to reside in northern regions with cool summers and harsh winters.
Moose have evolved to withstand the harsh winters in these regions. They can move through snowy circumstances with to their large legs, long coats, and thick skin. However, this has the drawback that they don’t fare well in heated environments.
The moose experience heat stress in the spring and summer when the temperature begins to rise. They easily become overheated due to their great size. They run the risk of passing out from heat stroke if they can’t cool themselves in the shade or water.
Additionally, moose are considerably more likely to get ticks when it is hot outside. As we’ve already discussed, parasites are a major cause of the fatal infections that moose develop. They may become more vulnerable in the wild if the heat weakens their immune system.
Due to the warming of their natural habitats over time, moose populations are significantly impacted by climate change.
How old do moose live in captivity?
The longest captive moose lived to be 18 years old, yet they only live in captivity for about 6 years on average. Compared to wild moose, that is much less. This is highly unusual for an animal in captivity because they often live far longer than animals in the wild.
Animals kept in captivity typically have longer lives because they are shielded from many of the threats they face in the wild. They don’t have any predators, a consistent supply of food, shelter, or access to medical treatment should they become ill.
Nevertheless, moose are not typically kept as pets. Because it’s challenging to feed captive moose a natural diet, they frequently pass away too soon. It is difficult to recreate in captivity the vast quantities of twigs and aquatic plants that moose require.
When kept in confinement, moles seem to be significantly more prone to illness. This is most likely a result of the warmer weather, which encourages tick growth. Tick infestations for moose are naturally reduced by colder conditions in the environment.
Predators like wolves or coyotes frequently prey on young moose.
Adult moose must endure severe parasite infections, a shortage of food, and the yearly slaughter of thousands of them by hunters. Vehicle crashes, which can kill thousands of moose annually, have an impact on the quantity of moose owing to humans.
The risk is that moose don’t do well in captivity, thus their populations in the wild must be kept up to ensure the survival of the species.
How long does a moose live in the wild?
Although bulls can grow trophy-sized antlers as young as 6 years old, the largest antlers are typically produced when bulls are 10 to 12 years old. Moose rarely live more than 16 years in the wild.
Do moose have mate for life?
Moose in the taiga typically stay in one relationship for the entire season (meaning the keep they same mate for the entire breeding season).
How old do moose get?
While some cattle may live for 20 years, the average lifespan of a cow is 8 years and a bull is 7 years. During the rut, bull moose utter a loud bellow in addition to croaking and barking.
What is the oldest moose to ever live?
In August, a cow moose and her calf are seen feeding at Hidden Lake in Isle Royale National Park. An Isle Royale cow that lasted 22 years may have been the oldest wild moose ever discovered, according to researchers.
How old do wild moose live?
Although trophy class bulls can be found all over Alaska, the biggest ones are from the western part of the state. Although bulls can grow trophy-sized antlers as young as 6 years old, the largest antlers are typically produced when bulls are 10 to 12 years old. Moose rarely live more than 16 years in the wild.