Moose reproduce sexually and the cow’s gestation is approximately eight months. The mating season for Alces alces is called the “rut” or “rutting season”. The rut happens annually from late September to October. There really aren’t very many days for the moose to reproduce.  Calves are born usually in late May to June. Moose don’t reproduce during the winter that often because the calf wouldn’t have a good shot at surviving due to the winter cold. The bulls are very violent and unpredictable during this time. To attract cows, bulls do many unusual things. They dig a little hole in the ground, called a wallow, and urinate in it. The bull rolls around in the wallow to get a strong odor. The smell of the urine attracts females and helps bulls and cows communicate sexual messages. Another technique used by moose to communicate sexual messages is to do the Flehmen response. The Flehmen response is a behavior in which the bull raises his head and curls his top lip back while sniffing the air. This act facilitates the reception of olfactory cues called pheromones. Bulls may also just walk up and smell a cow’s genitals to see if she is in estrus. Moose are very vocal creatures during the rut.

Click here for moose sounds!

Click here to see a moose use the Flehmen response!

Bulls also fight each other using their antlers to assert their dominance. They fight by interlocking their antlers and pushing each other around. The fight ends when one moose admits defeat and walks away from the fight. However, sometimes the antlers can get tangled together and both moose eventually die due to starvation and thirst.

Bulls are polygamous and sometimes find more than one female mate. After the breeding season ends, the male doesn’t stick around the female. Moose are very independent animals. When the cow is in labor, it will find a secluded place and lay there until the calf is born. After the calf is born, it is quick to its feet, usually walking within a few days. At about a week old, the calf can run faster than a human. The calf gains approximately a tenth to two tenths of a pound daily from consuming its mother’s milk and some vegetation. The calf sticks around its mother for the remainder of the year. When the cow has another calf, she will disown the older calf. She encourages the calf to live by itself because taking care of two calves would take too much energy for the mother during the winter months. Also, bulls do not eat during the rut.

Click here to see two moose fight during the rut!

Go to Interactions to see how the moose interacts with other organisms!

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