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5 things you might not know about moose and the Grand Mesa Moose Day in Colorado

Bull moose photographed in Colorado (summer 2013)
Bull moose photographed in Colorado (summer 2013)
photo courtesy of Mary Glass and Josh Bourassa

Moose are magnificent, at least in my opinion. They're odd and beastly in the most interesting of ways, like how their front legs are longer than their back legs or how their hair bristles like a dog's when agitated. I'm nothing but pleased that as a native Colorado species moose can be viewed across the state from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Grand Mesa. Here are ten facts you might not know about the tallest mammal in North America and where you might learn some more:

1. Moose are great swimmers and can swim up to 6 mph. They can also completely submerge themselves, staying underwater for up to 30 seconds.

2. Male moose are called bulls, females are called cows, young moose are called calves, a group of moose is a herd, and the plural of moose is moose (not mooses or meese).

3. Normal adult moose have the same number of teeth as a normal adult human: 32.

4. A moose’s ruminant stomach can hold over 100 pounds of food which is needed to sustain a body weight around 1,800 pounds.

5. A full set of moose antlers can weigh over 50 pounds and measure over 6 feet across.

6. Moose can make many different sounds including squeaks, croaks, barks bleats, whines, roars, claps, wails, hiccups, snorts, moans, grunts, and cough-like moo-agh sounds.

7. Moose have poor eyesight, though their hearing and sense of smell are quite good.

8. The word moose means twig eater and comes from the Algonquin language.

9. The hairy bit of skin that hangs under a moose’s throat is called a bell

10.Every year the US Forest Service hosts the Grand Mesa Moose Day on Colorado’s western slope in honor of the largest member of the deer family. This year the Grand Mesa Moose Day is Saturday July 26 from 10 am to 4 pm; that’s this weekend. The Grand Mesa Moose Day is a free event and festivities include hikes, moose viewings, kid-friendly activities, and presentations on moose biology and telemetry. There’s also sure to be numerous new moose facts to learn.

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