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Do Moose Hibernate?



Moose do not hibernate.

More Info: Moose do not hibernate during the winter. They are a species that is well adapted to the seasonal changes that occur in their natural habitat.

A Well Adapted Northern Species

Moose live all across the northern hemisphere. Their natural range in Europe in Asia runs from Scandinavia to China. In North America, they can be found across the northern United States, Canada and up into Alaska. They are perfectly adapted to life in these wintery climates. A moose has one of the thickest hides and most insulating hair coats of any land mammal. While they do completely shed their winter coat every spring, they immediately begin to grow a new hair coat. Their large bodies reduce heat loss due to a low surface area ratio. In addition, their long legs allow adult moose to handle snow depths up to 36 inches. However, during times of deep snow, moose will generally look for a sheltered are with access to food for browsing.

Better Adapted to Cold than to Heat

The sheltered areas moose instinctively seek serve a dual purpose. In addition to protecting against deep snow, the shelter also protects moose from excess heat. With a dense, soft undercoat and an insulating, air-filled outer coat, moose can easily withstand temperatures well below zero. While calves and young moose can tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees below zero, adults can withstand even colder temperatures. However, when winter temperatures climb into the mid-twenties, moose will often begin to pant from the heat. In fact, some moose will lie down in the snow to try to cool off. During the summer, temperatures as low as 57 degrees will cause moose to feel stress from the heat. Unfortunately, to combat this heat stress, moose will often forage less. When that happens, they don’t build up enough stored fat reserves to survive winter’s cold.



“Wildlife Report from N.H. Fish and Game – July 22, 2005 – N.H. Fish and Game Wildlife Report.” NH Fish and Game Department – Connecting you to life outdoors. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2012.

“Mooseworld: Biologist.” Mooseworld: About moose. About nature. About life.. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2012.

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