The Moose of Algonquin Park

The Moose is the largest mammal found in Algonquin Provincial Park. The park is home to over 3000 Moose.
The Moose is the largest mammal found in Algonquin Provincial Park. The park is home to over 3000 Moose. | Source
Over a million people travel to Algonquin Provincial Park each year. During the spring and late summer months, moose grazing along the side of the highway is a common site in Algonquin Park.
Over a million people travel to Algonquin Provincial Park each year. During the spring and late summer months, moose grazing along the side of the highway is a common site in Algonquin Park. | Source

The Mighty Moose of Algonquin

Algonquin Provincial Park, located in Ontario is home to over 3000 moose. The moose (scientific name: Alces alces) is the second largest mammal found in Ontario (only polar bears are bigger!) and can be found all over North America. There are an estimated one million moose living throughout North America.

People travel from all over the world each year to visit Algonquin Park and experience a moose sighting. Affectionately called "Moose Jams" in Algonquin Park. A moose was the first animal I spotted during one of my very first trips to Algonquin Park, which was the catalyst for my quest to experience The Algonquin Park Triad. It is also the largest and most plentiful animal found in Algonquin Park.

If you're looking to learn the best time of year for moose sightings in Algonquin Park, or simply want to learn a little bit more about these massive animals, you've come to the right place. This is the final piece in a three part series which focuses on the three biggest mammals found in Algonquin Provincial Park.

If you're interested in learning more about other mammals found in Algonquin, I recommend checking out:
The Eastern Wolves of Algonquin Park and
The Black Bears of Algonquin Park.

So let's get started and learn about the mighty moose!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The average weight of a male moose (also called a bull) is approximately 1100 pounds and they stand as tall as a horse!Moose are herbivores. This means their diet is made up of various types of plants and other vegetation. In the Spring the moose in Algonquin Park love to come out and eat the plants along the highway, which are salty from the winter's salt trucks.
The average weight of a male moose (also called a bull) is approximately 1100 pounds and they stand as tall as a horse!
The average weight of a male moose (also called a bull) is approximately 1100 pounds and they stand as tall as a horse! | Source
Moose are herbivores. This means their diet is made up of various types of plants and other vegetation. In the Spring the moose in Algonquin Park love to come out and eat the plants along the highway, which are salty from the winter's salt trucks.
Moose are herbivores. This means their diet is made up of various types of plants and other vegetation. In the Spring the moose in Algonquin Park love to come out and eat the plants along the highway, which are salty from the winter's salt trucks. | Source

Quick Facts About Moose

Appearance
Food Sources
Habitat & Predators
Colour: Dark Brown, Large ears on top of their head, long snout & a dewlap that hangs from their throat (looks like a bell)
Moose are herbivores. This means their diet consists of vegetation.
There are over 3000 Moose in Algonquin Park alone.
Height: The legs on a moose can be as long as 200 cms. They are equivilant in height to a horse.
They eat an assortment of ground vegetation, leaves and twigs
Moose can be found all across North America, with an estimated population of over one million.
Weight: Male: Average 1100 lbs. Female: 935 lbs.
Can eat up to 110 lbs. of plants and leaves in one day.
In the winter Moose stay in upland areas, for dense forest protection from weather. Summer months they stay in lower land areas with lots of stagnant water available
Male Moose (Bulls) have antlers during summer months. Female Moose (Cows) do not have antlers.
During the Spring, Moose in Algonquin can be found feeding on the salty grass along the side of the highway.
Due to their size, Moose have few predators. Black Bears & Eastern Wolves in Algonquin will generally only attack a moose who is injured, or a young calf.
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The antlers of a bull moose will fall in late fall, after the mating season is over and grow back again in the spring.Male moose will rub their antlers on trees and rocks during the summer months to help remove the velvet. By the time the fall mating season comes, their antlers have lost their "fuzzy" look and are smooth.
The antlers of a bull moose will fall in late fall, after the mating season is over and grow back again in the spring.
The antlers of a bull moose will fall in late fall, after the mating season is over and grow back again in the spring. | Source
Male moose will rub their antlers on trees and rocks during the summer months to help remove the velvet. By the time the fall mating season comes, their antlers have lost their "fuzzy" look and are smooth.
Male moose will rub their antlers on trees and rocks during the summer months to help remove the velvet. By the time the fall mating season comes, their antlers have lost their "fuzzy" look and are smooth. | Source
Male moose begin to grow their first set of antlers after their first year. Each year their antlers will regrow back bigger with a new set of "points" on them until they reach maturity.
Male moose begin to grow their first set of antlers after their first year. Each year their antlers will regrow back bigger with a new set of "points" on them until they reach maturity. | Source

All About Moose Antlers

After they reach past their first year of age, male moose will begin to develop their first set of antlers. The rack of antlers on a fully developed male moose can reach an impressive six feet across in length!

So why do moose have antlers anyway?

Well, for no real good reason.. Other than winning the affections of female moose. Rather, for intimidating other male moose during their mating season (which is called the rut and happens in late autumn)

After the mating season is over, the male moose will lose his antlers (typically between November and December).Their antlers can weigh upwards of 90 pounds, so they loose them before the winter comes, in order to conserve their energy during the coldest months of the year.

This is why the"horns" of a moose are called "antlers" and not "horns" . Horns do not fall off. An animal that has horns will have them for life, they do not shed them they way moose do.

In early spring they will begin to grow a new set of antlers. They grow out from the skull and they're initially covered with a brown tissue called "velvet". During the summer months the velvet will begin to fall off. Moose will often rub their antlers against trees and rocks to help remove the velvet. This is why sometimes when you look at a photograph of a moose, their antlers look "fuzzy" and sometimes they look smooth.

They will begin growing new antlers in late spring and take between three to five months to become fully developed. The antlers of a moose are the fastest growing bones on earth.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Moose are the largest members of the deer family, but they don't travel in herds the way deer do. Moose are solitary animals.Moose are excellent swimmers. They can hold their breathe for over 30 seconds at a time, can dive up to five metres deep for food and swim a distance of 16 kilometres at a time.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family, but they don't travel in herds the way deer do. Moose are solitary animals.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family, but they don't travel in herds the way deer do. Moose are solitary animals. | Source
Moose are excellent swimmers. They can hold their breathe for over 30 seconds at a time, can dive up to five metres deep for food and swim a distance of 16 kilometres at a time.
Moose are excellent swimmers. They can hold their breathe for over 30 seconds at a time, can dive up to five metres deep for food and swim a distance of 16 kilometres at a time. | Source

If your child is interested in learning more about moose, or you're a teacher looking to teach your class about wildlife. The book "Moose (Our Wild World") is an excellent source of information for elementary school children.

Fun Facts About Moose

  • Moose are incredibly good swimmers for such a large animal. They can dive up to five metres deep in order to find food. They can also hold their breathe for more than 30 seconds and swim distances of 16 kilometres at a time.
  • The long legs of a moose helps them to be very agile on all kinds of terrain. The can also run as fast as 50 kilometres an hour!
  • Moose are the largest member of the deer family.
  • Moose are solitary animals and don't typically travel in herds.
  • A moose can live to be well over 20 years old, though the average life span is approximately ten years.

Algonquin Park Moose Jam

The above video is from my personal library. It was taken during a trip to Algonquin Park in early summer 2012. It perfectly illustrates an Algonquin Park Moose Jam. As you can see, there were several cars parked along the highway to watch the moose. The moose was a female.

Moose sightings along the highway 60 in Algonquin Park are a common occurrence. It is possible to get this close to a wild moose in Algonquin. Always be respectful of the wildlife.
Moose sightings along the highway 60 in Algonquin Park are a common occurrence. It is possible to get this close to a wild moose in Algonquin. Always be respectful of the wildlife. | Source

Did You Know?

The word "moose" is derived from the Algonquin word "mooswa" which translates to "twig eater"

Viewing Moose In Algonquin Park

If you've ever visited Algonquin Park in Ontario, chances are, you've spotted at least one moose during your trip. With a population of over 3000 moose living within the boundaries of the park, your chances of finding yourself a part of an Algonquin Park Moose Jam are relatively high. Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the best places to view moose in Ontario. The best time of year to experience a moose sighting in Algonquin Park is earlier in the camping season (May and June).

So what exactly is an Algonquin Park Moose Jam? It is a very common and exciting experience to be part of! In Algonquin Park, it is customary to pull over to the side of the road when you spot a moose grazing in a field or ditch along the highway 60 that runs through Algonquin Park. I have been part of Moose Jams that saw dozens of cars lined up along the road, their owners excitedly hopping out of their cars with cameras in hand to stand and enjoy watching the moose in Algonquin Park.

What Is A Moose Jam?

"Moose Jam" is a term you'll hear very often during a visit to Algonquin Park. Similar to a traffic jam, it refers to a line up of cars parked bumper to bumper along the highway. Except in this case, the cars are parked so drivers can get out of their cars and watch a moose they've spotted! (See video above for footage of an Algonquin Park Moose Jam)

Have you ever participated in a Moose Jam?

  • Yes! In Algonquin Park.
  • Yes, but not in Algonquin Park.
  • No, I've never been part of a Moose Jam.
See results without voting
Always drive slowly when approaching a moose jam in Algonquin Park. Every year almost 30 moose are killed in the park and as many vehicles are destroyed from collisions with moose.
Always drive slowly when approaching a moose jam in Algonquin Park. Every year almost 30 moose are killed in the park and as many vehicles are destroyed from collisions with moose. | Source

Moose Jam Etiquette

During your stay in Algonquin Park, please keep these important safety tips in mind when participating in a Moose Jam:

  • Pull your car over completely to the side of the road.
  • Turn your car off. Please don't idle your car. It's bad for the environment. It's bad for the people standing near by and it may spook any wildlife in the area.. including the moose.
  • Turn your hazards lights on. The highway 60 is a busy main highway and transports travel through here regularly. Hazard lights help let truck drivers and other campers know they're approaching a moose jam and should slow down. An average of 30 moose are killed in Algonquin Park each year (and as many vehicles destroyed). Always use caution and reduce your speed when approaching a moose jam.
  • Keep your distance. Moose are not aggressive and it is safe for you to get out of your car to look at them. However, give them their space. These are animals that weigh over 1000 pounds. You don't want to scare them. The best indicator that you're getting too close is their ears. If a moose thinks you're too close, they'll put their ears back.
  • Control your children. If you're camping with little one's, consider watching the moose from the safety of your vehicle. If you can't see them from the car and want to get out, please make sure your children are not being loud and running around. This may spook the moose. He'll either leave (thereby ruining the Moose Jam) or get spooked and run into the road, potentially causing an accident.
  • Be quiet. Spotting a moose in Algonquin Park is a very exciting experience, but keep your voice to a whisper so as not to spook him. The goal is to enjoy observing a moose in his natural habitat, not scare or disturb him.
  • Stay as long as you like and take as many photo's as you can. But when you're ready to get back on the road, be mindful that other's may still be standing around watching him. Drive slowly and cautiously. Don't return back to the speed limit until you're clear of the area where the moose jam is.

A markerAlgonquin Provincial Park -
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario 60, ON K0J 2M0, Canada
[get directions]

Algonquin Provincial Park is home to over 3000 moose.

For More Information

If you'd like more information about booking a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, The Friends of Algonquin Park Web-Site is chalked full of all the details you'll need to plan a trip to the park.

If you'd like to learn more about moose, you can visit The Science Behind Algonquin's Animals for more moose facts, including details about moose research in Algonquin.

If you have any questions about Algonquin Park or it's moose, comments or you'd like to share your own moose jam stories, please leave them in the comments section below!

I had some fun trying on moose hats during a girls trip to Algonquin Park. I purchased this one. :)
I had some fun trying on moose hats during a girls trip to Algonquin Park. I purchased this one. :) | Source

About The Author

JessBraz is in the middle of a lifelong love affair with Algonquin Provincial Park. She has been "moose jamming" with her camping partner and husband, Jason since 2007. She is the proud owner of a very silly and slightly obnoxious Moose hat. She has written other articles dedicated to the wildlife of Algonquin Park and plans to publish more in the future.

More by this Author


Comments 10 comments

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

When we drive to our cottage near Algonquin Park, we often see moose in the early spring and autumn. Once, we had one right in the middle of the road and we wondered what it was until we were close to it.


stuff4kids profile image

stuff4kids 2 years ago

I loved this hub! I've always seen Moose as inspiring a curious mixture of amusement - they have such comedic faces - and awe - as they are so big and powerful.

Fascinating information about the antlers, too, much of which was new to me.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

This was most enjoyable reading about the moose found in Algonquin Park. We have been in moose jams, but in Wyoming. They are magnificent animals. Up votes and already pinned to my animals board. In fact I found this on Pinterest! ☺ Sharing with my followers here on HP.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Great job JessBraz. I have never seen a moose nor read about them but I enjoyed learning what I did here. Thumbs up and shared.

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Tip top hub Jess. I found it so interesting to learn the facts about the moose. We don't have any here in Australia, or bears or wolves...so all your hubs are interesting to me. But I especially like the moose, ever since watching "Rocky and Bullwinkle"..lol. I found it very interesting to learn that their antlers are the fastest growing bones on Earth and they lose them every year and grow new ones. Voted up.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

What a great hub! When I lived in Maine I had the opportunity to see them up close (but never heard of Moose Jam before). This was very entertaining and educational. Congrats on being in the top 10.


raymondphilippe profile image

raymondphilippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands

Thanks. You just brought canada and the Moose one step closer. I'd love to see them in the wild. You painted a vivid description.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub; well informed and presented .Interesting and voted up for sure.

Eddy.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 2 years ago from North Carolina, USA

I love moose! Great pictures--thanks for sharing.


Outbound Dan profile image

Outbound Dan 2 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

Great Hub! Every time I've been to Algonquin I've spotted moose - some of those encounters were rather close too. I've never moose jammed before though as I've always seen them while paddling or portaging.

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