Moose: The Biggest Mammal in New Hampshire (Alces alces)

Moose: The Biggest Mammal in New Hampshire   (Alces alces)

Working at the base of Mount Washington here in Pinkham Notch we have had feedback daily about our local Moose population, especially on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The origin of the name moose is from an Algonquin term for "eater of twigs" as you can see in these pictures taken by one of the Hermit Lake Shelter Caretakers. A moose can eat up to 40-60 pounds of "browse" which consists of twigs, leaves, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and shrubs. Moose prefer birches, willows, aspens, maples, fir, and viburnums, in the fall they begin feeding on the bark; in the winter moose feed on the buds and new woody growth of these plants. Female moose are "cows", male moose are "bulls" and baby moose are "calves".

Photo Credit: Tom Meagher
Moose also eat sodium-rich aquatic plants in summer, and moose licks form in wet areas on the sides of roads due to the winter application  accumulates. Cows also prefer aquatic areas in order to keep cool and keep their calves near water as an escape route for their calves to escape from moose flies and other pesky insects.

This cow got a bit close to the caretaker's window up at the shelter! It is easy to tell As you can see by this close-up picture, the moose's muzzle is quite long which helps for it to eat more "browse".

Photo Credit: Tom Meagher
Moose are near-sighted (Myopia) meaning that when looking at distant objects it is out of focus. So if you have a run-in with a moose on the trail, try to find trees to hind behind so that they don't see you!
Photo Credit: Tom Meagher
Some of the best times to see moose are during the early morning and at dusk, and please make sure to be safe while out searching. Also with hunting season coming up please also make sure to wear bright colors, generally bright orange is the universal color during the season. For more information please visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_moose.htm

For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk.  We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org.

Danielle J.
Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
(603) 466-8116
amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org 

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