Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Creative Moose


You have no doubt heard that this is a rough year to be a moose in Alaska. No? Well, let me fill you in.

Vast amounts of snow have fallen this year, making it difficult for moose to forage for food. You've probably tried walking through snow that is several feet high.  It's exhausting. Moose are built just for this purpose: their long legs usually afford them the ability to step over drifts that would normally be too high for an animals with 'normally-sized gams'.  

Except for this year. The snow fall has been relentless. My father-in-law can attest to this as he has been the one that gets to plow their long, long driveway. 

When the snow is this high, the moose are confined to smaller areas. I read an article this week that said that moose normally consume small branches because nutrients in the bark are life-sustaining. When they've consumed the small stuff, they are forced to eat the larger branches, which have a higher wood to bark ratio. The wood doesn't do anything for them, nutritionally, and thus the animals can starve to death, with stomaches full of inedible/unhelpful wood. 

Probably more information about moose than you wanted to know, yes?

Anyway, this particular animal discovered a way to reach those high, nutrient rich twigs. 

Pay special attention to the object he's using as a step stool:

You know these guys are tall when they start using cars for a leg-up. Think it dented the vehicle much?