Chances are good that a visitor to Alaska will see a moose.  Moose are plentiful here, with an estimated population of 175,000.  The moose is the largest of the deer family;  bulls can reach a height of 7 feet and weigh up to 1600 pounds, females are a bit smaller.  Only the bull moose has antlers, which are shed every fall.  Female moose bear one to two calves about every 2 years.  Once in a great while, a female will bear three calves.

Though moose have a gangly, almost comic appearance, with long, skinny legs, a big midsection and a pronounced snout, they are fast and can be quite dangerous.  They can attack if threatened or surprised.  Females are very protective of their young and will attack if there is a perceived threat.  Though the calves are adorable and the mother may seem unconcerned, do not get too close when viewing or taking pictures.  People have been seriously hurt by a cow when they got too close to the babies.  The moose will ram, bite and kick at the perceived threat and people have been hospitalized as a result.  Check with the rangers and/or read up on an appropriate distance to maintain when encountering moose.  DSCN1164102_5509

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