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Annual Moose Molt

3-15-13 moose hair IMG_6412Many mammals have two molts a year, producing a winter and summer coat. Moose only have one annual molt, and it occurs in early spring. Their winter coat consists of long (up to six inches on neck and shoulders), hollow guard hairs and a thick undercoat. In early spring the faded and ragged winter hairs are shed and replaced with short, dark, shiny hairs. Molting starts on the shoulders and proceeds along the sides of the neck and back over the moose’s body. Adult bulls molt first, the cows and yearlings shortly after. Pictured is a beaver-cut tree which was used by a moose to scratch off loose winter hair.

3 responses

  1. Al Stoops, Nelson NH

    Recently we were following fresh moose tracks in snow and found where it had rubbed against a tree—apparently deliberately. Looked for ticks, thinking maybe it was a way of getting ticks off, but didn’t see any. This helps clear up that behavior….

    March 16, 2013 at 3:09 am

  2. catherine fisher

    What a cool discovery! Those hair chunks might be a boon for chickadees, titmice and other birds that will soon be gathering nesting materials. Never been so fortunate as to find a moose rubbing tree, but have seen the above birds gathering hair tufts from a deer kill, and, another time, pulling squirrel fur from fox scat.

    March 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    • Wow. Pulling squirrel fur from fox scat — THAT is really a sight to see!

      March 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm

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