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Moose Submerge To Reach Aquatic Plants

6-24-13 moose eating after submerging 576The highlight of a recent trip to Maine was watching a bull moose feed on submerged aquatic vegetation. It would swim a short distance, and then sink, much like a submarine, until only the top of its back was visible, and then it, too, completely disappeared, leaving no sign of a moose. Seconds later the moose’s head would reappear, with its mouth full of green plants. When these plants were consumed, the moose would submerge underwater again and come up with another mouthful. It proceeded to do this at least a dozen times before eventually swimming to shore. When moose are feeding on submerged vegetation they are capable of reaching plants in water over 18 feet deep, and they can remain under water for up to 50 seconds or longer before resurfacing. It’s thought that they remain submerged by paddling and perhaps by releasing air from their lungs.

7 responses

  1. linda willson

    Mary, I enjoyed your talk at Gilsland Farm last week. I would have spoken with you after and asked you to inscribe my copy of your book but there was such a long line and friends were waiting.
    Where did you see the moose?

    June 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    • On a small pond near Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine! So sorry not to have had a chance to sign your book.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  2. Leslie English

    greetings and thanks! My friend Bunny Wescott has tried twice to sign up for your blog and got the message that she was, but after months has still not received any posts. Perhaps you could help?

    Many thanks!! I have bought many Naturally Curious guides for friends and all love it cordially Leslie English

    June 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm

  3. abigail Parker

    Hi Mary, So glad your experience with the moose was so amazing. You got the whole treatment!!! Glad to learn about their submersion etc. When we watched them for years in NH the beaver pond wasn’t very deep so never saw that behavior. Thanks again for a great program. Am sharing with some friends that live on a lake cove that I’ve just turned onto birds. They soak all this info up. They have a pond on their property that abuts the lake so get to watch ducks bring their new babies out every evening! Hope you enjoy an email I’m sending. Don’t usually forward things but I think you’ll truly enjoy this exception. Best hunting wishes, Abi

    June 25, 2013 at 2:14 am

  4. Fantastic, I had to put my Moose in a dry bag last time he was submerged!!?

    June 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

  5. Richard Rothrock

    First of all, I feel that this type of feeding practice that these majestic animals are capable of, is an incredible feat, that I find to be extremely fascinating, as well as impressive! I never would have guessed that any goats posses this level of intelligence! I now have massive respect for these amazing animals! My inquisitive nature compels me to wonder how they ever discovered underwater vegetation in the first place. I mean it’s not likely that their sense of smell led them 20 feet deep! And it’s hard to reason with the notion that moose have the ability to visually detect the vegetation on a lake’s floor 20 feet deep! Then have the ability to identify this undetected foliage as possible nourishment. The idea that they are able to find foliage that far underwater, suggests that they were spending a lot of time at that depth searching for it. Most carnivorous land animals rely on their sense of smell, as well as sight to locate and identify any sustainable food source. The moose has discovered a source of nourishment without using any of the senses generally required to achieve such discoveries! I am a hard man to impress. Very few people throughout my life have possessed this ability. However putting all logic and rational expectations aside, this entire concept blows my mind, and is making me question all my logical beliefs & opinions regarding the intellectual capacity of wild animals! Now with all that said, I just have a couple of questions for anyone knowledgeable of moose grazing habits. First of all, is it common for moose to dive for vegetation, or is this feeding practice isolated and rare? Also, Is it instinctual, or something that only a rare few incredibly intelligent moose have figured out? Thank you for the time you have spent reading this post! I greatly appreciate & welcome anyone & everyone’s opinion, input and expertise regarding this topic. Thank you so much! Have a great life! I wish that you all succeed and live long, healthy, happy lives!😁

    October 16, 2019 at 3:32 am

    • Hi Richard, Feeding on pond bottoms is a fairly common practice of all moose. They are used to finding aquatic vegetation in the shallows along the shore, and it was most likely natural for them to keep following the source into deeper and deeper water. It is quite a feat, I agree!

      October 22, 2019 at 10:16 am

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