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Usually, moose won’t defend themselves unless they’re attacked.

However, sometimes they can be quite aggressive depending on the circumstance.

For instance, more moose attacks are reported during the mating season in September, October, and March, as well as early spring when the females are shielding their calves.

Still, moose can charge at anytime. So, it’s crucial you understand the 10 signs you’re about to see dangerous, aggressive charging.

10 Signs: Quick Reference Guide

  1. Tossing the head upwards (similar to a horse)
  2. Licking or smacking its lips and clacking its teeth
  3. Raising the hair around its neck, hump, or hips
  4. If the moose was eating, it could suddenly stop and stare at you
  5. Urinating
  6. Lowering the head and walking towards your direction
  7. Displaying the white parts of its eyes
  8. Stomping its feet
  9. Laying its ears back
  10. Grunting

What Should You do if You Encounter a Moose?

It you’re out in wilderness, make sure and carry an outdoor survival kit with you.

It’s important to understand that a wild moose is more aggressive than those dwelling near resorts or camping areas.

This is because the latter are used to seeing people, often tourists, staring at them and taking photos.

These will hardly ever charge – unless they’re provoked.

If you encounter a moose during a drive through Colorado or Yellowstone National Park (and other areas), the best thing to do is watch them from a distance and observe their body language.

You need to be extra cautious even as you view the animals and take photos.

Moose attack video

Do Moose Attack You? Are They Aggressive Towards Humans?

As I mentioned, moose are hardly aggressive until you disturb their peace.

But, it’s important to note that moose hate dogs – especially because they bark and chase them.

You may be more susceptible to moose attacks if you have dogs – and the moose may attempt to kick them even when the canines are in restricted areas. So, don’t allow your dog to chase after a moose.

They also get uncomfortable when there’s traffic or when they’re tired. This happens especially during the winter season when they have to navigate through the heavy winter snow, or when they’re hungry.

Often times people may get too close to a moose or throw things at them which can anger them.

How Dangerous is a Moose?

Whenever you see moose near a building, along the driveway (more common in Alaska or areas of Colorado), on a trail, along the road in parks, lying against a building, house, or under a deck, chances are they’re taking a rest.

It’s best to share the area on their terms – the last thing you want to do is disturb them.

However, many people will take that chance to hit them or attempt to chase them away.

You can easily trigger a moose attack by doing so.

Remember, they get agitated and stressed when they’re provoked (especially likely during their March mating season).

Still, although moose have varying tolerance levels, all of them react aggressively when provoked.

Remain calm and quiet whenever you approach a moose in any of these situations.

On top of being a very large animal and capable of causing significant injury, they are also quite fast.

Moose Size

Height: 4.6 – 6.9 ft. (Adult, At Shoulder)
Length: 7.9 – 10 ft. (Adult, Head and body)
Mass: Male: 840 – 1,500 lbs (Adult), Female: 440 – 790 lbs (Adult)

How Fast Can Moose Run?

A full grown bull moose is quick. Just how fast can a moose run? They are able to get up to speeds of 35 miles per hour, and, at 1,500 lbs, that’s a lot of force.
Surprisingly, they can also swim well and will cross large bodies of water by swimming 6 miles per hour for 2 hours in one fell swoop. Even a cow moose will be quick.

Can I Feed Moose?

Feeding moose is not only dangerous, but it’s illegal – and they can get accustomed to being fed by humans.

If the feeding situation changes and the animals aren’t fed appropriately, the moose will become agitated.

For instance, when a moose that’s accustomed to being hand fed sees a human, they may approach them hoping to be fed in the same way.

If the person doesn’t seem to understand what the animal wants, it can charge at them and eventually attack.

This is why you shouldn’t feed moose even when you encounter them during your national park drives.

If you live in an area where moose often roam (like Colorado or Alaska), caution your neighbors from feeding the animals – especially during October.

Is a Moose Dangerous to Kids

Yes. if moose are used to being fed, like deer or any other animal, they will expect every human being whether adult or children they encounter to feed them.

If they don’t get food, they will even charge children.

Administration officers will often search for and shoot moose that carry out unprovoked attacks.

To minimize unnecessary moose deaths, resist feeding them.

What Do You Do If You Encounter a Moose?

What Should I do when Moose Block my Way? You need to be patient. Stay still and calm.

With time, the moose will move away – but, unlike deer, don’t expect it to move quickly.

Sometimes it may take up to an hour before it will share the road and move away, allowing you to continue with your journey.

The waiting will always be better than having to provoke the animal.

While a loud noise may trigger the moose into moving, know that moose that are used to seeing people may not make way easily.

If you’re inside of a vehicle it can be easy to maneuver, but if you’re walking, search for something that can be a barrier between you and the animal, just to be safe.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Never go near a moose when there’s no escape route other than towards your direction.

Make sure and leave at least two or more escape routes you can easily run through in case one rushes you.

If you suspect you may encounter moose, pepper spray can either force them to move or protect you if they attempt to charge you.

Before letting your dogs out at night, search your backyard to rule out a moose’s presence.

You also may want to turn your security lights at night to minimize blind encounters between your dog and a moose.

What Should I do if a Moose Charges?

Often, moose charges are demonstrations –  or a way of warning you to stay away from them.

Still, you should exercise caution, knowing well that even a young calf weighing approximately 400 pounds can cause you massive injury.

When a moose attacks, it uses its front hooves to kick forward.

In such a case, running would be the best option because they’re unlikely to chase you far.

Hide behind a compact and solid object such as a tree.

If the moose knocks you down, curl yourself up into a ball to shield your head using your hands and stay still.

Remain in that position until you’re sure the moose has moved to a safer distance. You don’t want to provoke the animal into charging you again.

What Moose Attack Warning Signs Should You Look Out for?

If you’re out on an adventurous trip and are sure you’ll encounter a moose, there are various warning signs you should beware of.

Remember, this could be the only way to avoid danger. Here are the signs:

  1. Tossing the head upwards (like you would see a horse do)
  2. Licking or smacking its lips and clacking its teeth
  3. Raising the hair around its neck, hump, or hips
  4. If the moose was eating, it could suddenly stop and stare at you
  5. Urinating
  6. Lowering the head and walking towards your direction
  7. Displaying the white parts of its eyes
  8. Stomping its feet
  9. Laying its ears back
  10. Grunting

Remember, the moose’s behavior can change abruptly. Don’t be fooled by its calmness. Walk away slowly while focusing on the animal until you’re at a safe place.

How Many Moose Kill Humans?

Luckily, moose attacks against humans don’t often end up fatal and fewer than one person a year will die from being attacked. Still, being attacked by a moose can leave you extremely hurt.

How to be Safe

Big game species like moose dwell in forests close to natural ponds, streams, or ponds in the Northern Hemisphere of America (and the United States).

Tourists who enjoy the outdoors often travel around these places.

If you are along the moose trail region of the US, you want to be extra careful just to stay safe.

Though it’s not always possible, you may want to resist placing yourself in a situation which can irritate the moose.

The following tips will come in handy for you if you’re encountering moose for the first time.

The Moose Love their Space. Give it to them

Don’t get too close to a moose and watch them from a safe distance.

If you happen to encounter one along the trail or road, it may be best to either back off or change your direction.

Moose are naturally nervous and will become stressed to a point of aggression when people approach them too closely.

Kristine Rines, a wildlife biologist says: “if you realize that moose are changing behavior, chances are your closeness is making them uncomfortable and should consider moving to a safer place.”

Never Feed Moose

As mentioned above, and according to the Washington Department of Fish and wildlife, you shouldn’t feed moose.

This is because they will charge other people who don’t offer them food as they expect.

Some states have actually made it illegal to feed a moose because when they rush people, they’ll often be shot down needlessly.

Never get Between a Moose and it’s Calf

A lactating moose is very protective of her calves and will defend their young from anybody who attempts to get near or even between them.

Should you find yourself anywhere between, the best thing to do is to back off immediately and walk to safety.

Birthing Season

Calves are typically born around the middle of May and early June and will weigh about 20-25 lbs.

Allow Moose to Cross the Road

What’s the best action to take if moose blocks your way while driving?

You can only let it cross because if you attempt to move it, chances are it will attack your vehicle.

If you’re driving around moose inhabited places, drive at a slow speed to avoid fatal accidents.

Moose attacks car

Remain Quiet and Calm when You Encounter a Moose

Remain calm and avoid making noise if you encounter a moose.

Noise disturbs them and could easily provoke them to defend themselves.

Fun Fact

Moose in Colorado are actually a smaller subspecies weighing 800-1200 lbs called Shiras and only came to the area later in the 1970’s. There’s good news if you’re looking for the best spot to see them. Walden State Forest State Park in Colorado is the best way to do it with way fewer people and incredible scenery.

Finally

Learning moose attack signs and taking the appropriate safety measures is an ideal way of protecting yourself before going for an adventurous trip in areas where you have to share the space with them – like Colorado or Alaska.

These tips will help you survive your trip and maximize your experience in the wild.

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