What Do Moose Eat In The Wild?

What Do Moose Eat In The Wild?

You already know how big moose are if you’ve ever seen one in the wild. A creature that huge requires a lot of food to survive. What do moose consume, though?

Moose are herbivorous animals that mostly eat grass and graze plants. As wild creatures, moose will consume whatever is in season and readily available, including trees, fruits, vegetables, fungus, nuts, and aquatic plants. Moose can be very picky about the food they eat and are not opportunistic eaters.

Moose have a very particular diet, as you’ll see. That comes as a bit of a surprise considering how much food an animal that size would normally consume. So how do moose manage to survive on such a specific diet?

Everything you need to know about a moose’s eating habits is covered in this book. You’ll discover what they eat as well as some of their feeding practices.

Let’s get going.

What do Moose eat?

1. Trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs, or “browse,” make up the majority of a moose’s food. This is the term used to describe plant life that rises above the earth. Therefore, moose are browsers as opposed to grazers. This means that instead of low-lying vegetation, such short grass, they will eat vegetation that is higher off the ground.

The moose consume the leaves, buds, shoots, and twigs of the trees and shrubs.

What the moose can eat depends on the time of year. Thus, they receive an abundance of soft, lush green foliage in the spring and summer. They are then left with the hard, woody twigs throughout the autumn and winter.

When food supplies are scarce, moose are known to consume tree bark. While providing nothing in the way of nutritious content, this will keep them full.

Because they are browsing creatures, moose are much pickier about the trees and bushes they do eat. The harder to locate trees and shrubs seem to be Moose’s favorites. However, when food is scarce, they will consume more common vegetation.

The following are typical plants that moose eat:

  • Willow
  • Aspen
  • Boswell Fir
  • Poplar
  • Dogwood
  • Birch
  • Maples

A moose has to eat about 30 to 40 pounds of vegetation each day to keep nourished and healthy.

2. Flowers

In rural regions, moose will consume wildflowers, but they will also consume accidentally discovered ornamental plants. If you’re a serious gardener, that’s bad news for your lovely garden.

Moose may quickly destroy a lovely floral display, and they are considerably more drawn to uncommon plants. The moose will readily consume both new branches and fully developed, flowering plants. In the spring and summer, moose are known to be especially attracted to blossoms and buds.

Moose are drawn to certain flora, such as:

  • Tea Labrador
  • Tulips
  • Impatiens
  • Lilac
  • Pansy
  • Ivy
  • Hosta
  • Bluebells
  • Geranium
  • Sunflower

You can get visits from moose if you put these in your yard and they are nearby. Even though moose can be picky about the flowers they enjoy, if they are starving, they will likely munch at anything. Bitter-tasting flowers like lungwort or bleeding hearts seem to turn them off.

3. Fruit and Vegetables

Moose will benefit from the seasonal fruit and vegetable supply they come across. Excellent sources of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals are fruits and vegetables. These are necessary for the giant moose to be healthy.

Moose can browse for fruit in forests, orchards, farms, and yards in urban areas.

Fruits that moose enjoy eating include:

  • Apples
  • Rhubarb
  • Plums
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pumpkins

Vegetables are also known to be a favorite food of moose. Once more, they can be found in the same places as fruits. Moose can be extremely picky about the vegetables they’ll eat, though.

Moose like to eat the following vegetables:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Peas
  • Kale

Dark leafy greens appear to be a favorite food of moose. Nevertheless, they often stay away from vegetables with overpowering aromas, prickly leaves, or skins. This is so because moose have incredibly sensitive noses to touch and smell.

Moose may consume such a large amount of veggies that they can easily destroy farmyard crops in a matter of days.

4. Fungi

What do Moose eat?

Moose enjoy eating fungi-based foods like lichen and mushrooms. When they are foraging near trees, they will frequently come upon these. Another excellent food source for moose in the fall and winter is mushrooms.

The nutrients and salts that moose require to stay healthy and develop robust antlers are abundant in fungi. By dispersing their spores with their waste, moose can aid in the reproduction of mushrooms.

Psychedelic mushrooms like fly agaric, which can make moose act a little bit “drunk,” are known to be consumed by moose, albeit they cause them little harm.

5. Nuts

Moose can dwell in woods and woodlands with lots of nut trees. This means that during the colder months, when it is difficult to acquire fresh flora, nuts can be used as a food source. Nuts are a great source of protein and good fats.

Moose will consume any available nuts, such as:

  • Chestnuts
  • Acorns
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Beechnuts

They will rely on the local nut trees that are available to them. Moose can aid in the planting of trees by eating the nuts and pooping them elsewhere in the forest, just like they can with mushrooms.

6. Grains & grasses

Moose are browsers, thus low-lying vegetation isn’t really something they consume. But for them to eat, grains and tall grasses are great. If they have a grain field that the moose is drawn to, farmers may view moose as pests.

What grains do moose consume?

  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Rye

Moose can get a lot of energy and fiber from grains in their diet. They can exploit vast agricultural fields as an accessible food supply to stock up on during the autumn months. However, excessive grain consumption might make moose feel full without providing much nutritional value. As a result, moose may develop physical defects or get unwell.

7. Aquatic plants

It makes obvious that moose have evolved to graze on aquatic plants because they spend a lot of time in the water.

Unexpectedly, moose can actually dive to access some plants that are up to 18 feet below the surface. They accomplish this by covering their nostrils and having the ability to chew and bite underwater. They have a maximum underwater endurance of 50 seconds.

A moose has a foraging advantage over many other land mammals due to their special capacity to consume aquatic plants. They will consume a range of aquatic plants that are submerged at different depths.

Aquatic vegetation that moose consume include:

  • Aquatic Lily
  • Pondweed
  • Hornwort
  • Horsetails
  • Eleocharis

Sodium and iron, which are necessary for moose to grow antlers, are significantly more abundant in aquatic vegetation. In the summer, you’ll notice moose eating a lot more aquatic vegetation, but they also consume them in the winter. This is so that the aquatic plants may continue to grow underwater in the cold climes that moose inhabit.

8. Salt & Mud

The moose’s diet includes unusual things like salt and muck. However, it’s an important source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium for moose. These nutrients are required for the big bone growth in order to maintain their skeleton and antlers, just like their smaller cousins, the deer.

For moose, salt can be found in a variety of places, such as soil, rocks, coastlines, and salt licks. If you’ve ever seen a moose licking a car in the winter, you might be curious as to why they do it. The solution, then, is to remove the salt from the surface.

The minerals that moose need are not very abundant in vegetation sources. So they start eating things that come from the soil, a practice known as geophagy. Moose frequently seek out the tree roots of downed trees to consume the additional mineral-rich soil.

9. Moose milk

For the first six months of their lives, moose calves will only consume their mother’s breast milk. The moose’s breast milk is crucial for the development of newborn calves’ strong bones and antlers as they mature.

For the first four weeks, the calves will only consume moose milk. They will begin to forage with their mothers after this point. The moose will probably perish if the mother is killed before it weans the calf onto browse.

Moose milk has a very high fat content. Due to the milk’s nutritional value, it is commercially offered in nations including Canada, Sweden, and Russia.

Related questions

Do moose eat meat?

Since moose are pure herbivores, they do not consume any animal products in their diet. Moose only consume greenery and plants.

When they are searching for plants on land and in the water, they may unintentionally eat some insects or fish.

What do moose eat in winter?

In the winter, moles will consume their regular diet. The only change is that they will start consuming twigs and bark instead of lush greens and shoots. Because they browse, moose don’t have to bother about searching for food on frozen or heavily snow-covered terrain.

Additionally, throughout the winter, moose can browse on green plants that grow underwater. For this food, they don’t have to contend with many other mammals. Additionally, hunting in the water shields them from hungry predators.

In order to increase their chances of surviving the winter, moose will strive to eat more throughout the later summer and fall. Once the poor weather arrives, they can accumulate fat reserves and decrease their daily activity as a result. The moose can preserve energy by relaxing.

Should you feed moose?

It is forbidden to feed wild moose in the United States, so you shouldn’t do it. More details on that are available here.

When fed, moose may become hostile toward people. When they depend on humans as a food supply and attack if they don’t obtain any, this takes place.

This rule is applicable to food that you give to moose directly or that you leave out with the goal of feeding nearby wild moose.

When moose are fed foods that are not a part of their natural diet, they are prone to become unwell. They may become ill or possibly have physical defects as a result of nutritional deficits.

Final Thoughts

1. Trees and shrubs

As browsers, moose can have a rather limited diet of grass and plants. Within this range, though, they consume a wide variety. They can choose from fungi, grasses, grains, fruits, vegetables, leaves, or trees.

Moose are well suited to locating these foods in cold conditions and consume considerable quantities of them. The moose can consume a greater variety of plants than creatures that solely graze on land thanks to the use of aquatic plants.

Keep in mind that it is forbidden to feed moose in the USA, so leave them to fend for themselves. The danger it poses to you and the moose is not worth it.


What can moose not eat?

Simply put, feeding a moose is considerably more likely to result in the animal’s demise than in its well-being. Livestock owners should make sure that moose cannot get items like hay or rabbit pellets in addition to other meals like apples and carrots that they shouldn’t eat.

Are all moose vegetarians?

Moose eat just plants. During the summer, moose eat grasses, leaves, and aquatic plants for food. They primarily consume twigs and bark from shrubs and young trees during the winter. Due to their enormous size, moose need a lot of food to keep their bodies fed.

Do moose ever eat meat?

Are moose meat eaters? No, moose don’t consume the meat or flesh of other animals. Moose are stringent with their diet, which is geared more toward greenery and trees. They are herbivores. The moose species is unique in that neither the males (bulls) nor the females (cows) consume meat.

Does moose taste like cow?

A considerably leaner, harder, and meatier variation of beef or bison can be found in the flavor of moose flesh. But unlike beef, it has a very distinctive flavor that is much stronger and gamier. Moose frequently also retain the flavor of the vegetation they consumed while living there, which is typically a floral taste from willow buds.

What can I feed a moose?

In the wild, moose consume aquatic vegetation as well as the leaves, bark, and twigs of trees and shrubs. In the rear of their 48.5-acre habitat, our moose also have a bale of hay placed in the trees, and we also provide them with browse, which are tree branches with lots of leaves.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author