Airdate: Sep 11, 2000
Scientist: Vic Van Balenberg
Unlike Bullwinkle, moose are not particularly gregarious types. In fact they seek each other's company only during mating season.
ambience Moose wading in water
We're listening to the sounds of a moose wading through water in an Alaskan stream. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Moose are remarkable in a number of ways. The most obvious is their size -- a bull can weigh up to 1600 pounds. They lose their distinctive-looking antlers each year, only to grow a new set. An moose are also notable for the company they don't keep.
"Moose are not social animals at all. They tend to avoid other moose most of the year."
Vic Van Balenberg is a research wildlife biologist who works in Alaska's Denali National Park. He says that this time of year it's the moose mating season, and it's the only time that these animals are found together.
"Here in the north, you can find moose in groups that are as large as twenty-five or thirty animals, but outside the mating season they tend to avoid each other and not be very social. They don't live in family groups or herds like some of the other members of the deer family do. They do not mate for life. Moose tend to be promiscuous. They mate with different individuals generally each year."
Moose live primarily in colder climates.
"Moose have adapted to live in cold northern places by a variety of techniques. They tend to have a kind of a thick, squat body to conserve heat. They tend to have a heavy coat of hair. They tend to have a lot of output of heat. They're ruminants, which means they have a chamber in their stomach that ferments the food that they eat and that produces heat and then their metabolism is high during much of the year when they produce additional heat."
Please visit our website at nationalgeographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.music