Moose are among the most popular photographic subjects in Alaska, and many people are surprised at how large they are. Males may weigh up to 1,600 pounds and stand over six-and-a-half feet tall. Babies usually stand within a day of birth, though their long, spindly legs make them fairly awkward. They are about 30 pounds at birth and can grow to 300 pounds or more within five months. Moose are the largest members of the deer family, and the variety of moose found in Alaska is the largest in the world. Males typically develop their largest racks at around age 10, and live to be about 16.
Where to find them:
Moose are found in Alaska, Canada and Northern Europe, and in Alaska, they range from certain areas of the Inside Passage all the way north to the Colville River area in the arctic. They are most abundant in areas that have been recently burned in forest fires with lots of tender, new willow and bird shrubs; on timberline plateaus; and along the major rivers of Southcentral and Interior Alaska. They are also commonly seen in cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks.
When to come:
Moose are seen all year long. They are particularly common in cities during the winter, when tender shoots and leaves are harder to get to in the snow-bound woods. The scarcity of food in the winter causes moose to lose a lot of weight during Alaska’s longest season, but in the summer they busy themselves with eating almost constantly in an effort to fatten up enough to last through the next winter.