Elk vs Moose – 7 Big Differences Between Elk & Moose
Elk and moose are distant relatives of deer that are majestic animals. These animals’ massive size and enormous antlers make them stand out from the crowd. In spite of their similarities, moose and elk are not the same.
There are many similarities between moose and elk despite being different species. As a result, identifying them accurately can be quite challenging.
So what separates moose from elk? Antler shape is one of the main differences between moose and elk. Elk’s antlers are branched, extended, and can span 6ft between the tips. In contrast, moose antlers are flat and large. A moose’s weight is typically higher than an elk’s.
Elks are smaller than moose. There is no limit to how tall moose can grow (from hooves to shoulders) or how much they can weigh as adults. There are usually less than 300 elks per herd, and they usually stand 5 ft tall.
What is an Elk and How Does it Look Like?
An elk is a large, four-legged mammal that shares many characteristics with deer. For the most part, they live in forested areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. Grass and leaves are the main ingredients of an elk’s diet.
It is possible for them to eat shrubs and twigs occasionally, as well. There is a lighter color on the rump of elks, which contrasts with the reddish-brown coat. It is also common for male elks to fight with enormous antlers during mating season.
Where the antlers would be on females’ heads, they usually just have small bumps. The elk lives in herds and is a social animal.
Mating season is the only time when males and females stay together. Females and their young live in separate packs during the rest of the year, while the males live in bachelor herds.
What is a Moose and How it Looks Like?
There are moose throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Among the deer family, they are the largest. Due to their excellent swimming abilities, moose are typically found in forested areas near water. They are herbivores, so they eat mostly leaves, twigs, and buds.
As well as aquatic plants, they eat the vegetation below the surface of ponds and lakes. In deep snow, moose can move thanks to their long legs and humped backs. They shed their coats every spring and have thick brown fur.
Antlers are used by males (bulls) to defend their territory and attract mates. Females (cows) are smaller than males.
Comparison Chart of Elk and Moose (Size, Habitat)
|Location Range||Western North America, Central, and East Asia||Widespread across North America|
|Size||Height: 4 to 5 feet at the shoulder Weight: 485 to 730 pounds||Height: 5 to 7 feet at the shoulder Weight: 840 to 1,550 pounds|
|Habitat||Forests, forest edges, meadows||Around rivers and lakes – particularly areas with plenty of aquatic vegetation|
|Color||Golden Brown||Dark brown/black|
|Nose||Typical nostrils with a deer-shaped nose||Overly fatty pads over the nostrils with a large, rounded nose|
|Throat||No Dewlap||Large Dewlap|
|Antlers||A deer’s horns are thinner and pointed. Around 4 feet high||Open, wide beams with flat and broad surfaces. Longer than 6 feet|
|Behavior||Quick to Flee||Stay calm and don’t flee quickly|
|Social Structure||Herd Animal||Solitary|
|Tracks||Tooth Shaped||Heart Shaped|
|Lifespan||10 TO 13 Years||15 TO 25 Years|
|Predators||The Siberian Tiger, wolves, coyotes, brown and black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes live here||Wolf, brown bear, black bear, mountain lion, Siberian tiger, killer whale, Greenland shark|
Major Differences Between Moose and Elk
Elk vs Moose – Appearance
A moose is larger than an elk. Bull elk weigh about half that of a bull moose since an elk weighs, on average, 710-730 pounds. There is no comparison between a deer and an elk and no comparison between an elk and a moose.
A deer’s antlers have sharp points and are spindly, similar to an elk’s antlers. A typical elk color is light brown, although it may also appear golden or light yellow. It has a narrow snout and no distinct “bell” shape along its neck.
Elk are often seen sprinting across roads while driving, just like deer. Elks are much smaller than moose. The average weight of these animals is 840-1500 pounds. Moose are usually heavier than horses. Elk weighs about half as much as bull moose, which averages about 1200 pounds.
The antlers of this animal are also broad and flat. It is more difficult to distinguish young moose from elks due to their antlers, which do not appear flat. Some moose may appear black at times because they are usually dark brown.
The nose is bulbous, long, wide, and large, similar to that of a horse. Under the throat, there is a “bell shape.” An area near the chin of a moose is called a “dewlap”.
They also have somewhat different ranges. A majority of Canada, Alaska, and parts of the northern contiguous United States are home to moose, which live in cold, snowy climates.
While elk can be found from British Columbia to Central America through Mexico, they are more prevalent in the western half of North America. The Rocky Mountains, aspen parkland, and prairies are all places where you can see elks.
They use their tails to balance while running when they have long, tapered tails. However, the two tails differ in some notable ways.
Elk have longer tails that are dark brown with a white underside, while moose have shorter tails that barely reach their hocks. As they maneuver through thick brush and deep snow, moose with their shorter tails have an advantage.
Habitat and Territory
Foothills and park lands are preferred habitats for elk. Parkland areas are usually where elk migrate before the winter months. It is common for elk to stay in large numbers together once they have moved onto parkland.
In contrast, moose are typically found near lakes and rivers, places with lots of water. Aquatic vegetation (their preferred food source) is common in their preferred habitats. Summer months are the perfect time for moose to cool off in bodies of water.
Unlike elk, it is common for moose to remain in the same habitat throughout the year. It is important to note that moose live in several different types of biomes. There are numerous habitats where moose can be found, including temperate forests, tundra, and taiga.
These animals prefer disturbed areas due to their abundant vegetation and ease of access. In addition to natural events, human activity may also play a role in causing this. Aquatic vegetation and wetlands are their favorite habitats.
Since moose and elk live in regions with harsh winters, both of them have thick fur to keep them warm. Despite its thick and long hair, the thick fur is actually composed of both an outer layer and an inner layer of guard hairs.
As they dive underwater to find food, moose and elk use this honeycomb structure to keep the water out. Beginning in summer, the thick fur sheds. There is only one difference between the fur of an elk and that of a moose. The fur of a moose looks almost black, unlike the fur of an elk.
There is considerable aggression in both elk and moose. The presence of dogs, traffic, hunger, fatigue, and humans getting too close can potentially agitate and stress them.
Although they will not draw first blood, they won’t back down. You should keep a safe distance from moose and elk if you see them and find a different route if you spot them.
If you see a moose or elk lying under or beside your deck, do not try to chase it away. They are likely to become aggressive and attack if they feel threatened.
In addition to their breeding habits, these two species differ in how they reproduce. Rutting season is a very aggressive time for male moose, and they often fight over mate rights. At the same time, one dominant male mate elk form harems, three to five females. One or two offspring are typically born to females of both species.
Moose vs Elk – Hunting
Despite their differences in appearance, hunters often mistake moose for Elk while hunting. Moose are killed by hunters every year in more than a dozen cases. Hunting licenses can be revoked if a hunter violates these rules, which can result in a fine of $1000.
While elk prefer areas along streams and watering holes, moose may live in the same areas within the forest. Hunting down moose is made easier by their attitude toward humans, one of the reasons for their ease of hunting.
Questions About Moose vs Elk
To distinguish elk from moose, it is important to understand the above-mentioned factors carefully. There are many differences between the two animals, including physical appearance, behaviors, eating habits, etc. That’s it for today, guys; see you at the next one!