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How Big is a Moose? (Size, Weight, Height)

The moose is one of the most majestic creatures you might come across while exploring North American forests. Because of their enormous size, these animals have captured the attention of a great number of people, and as a result, many individuals are curious about how big is a moose. 

With four subspecies residing in North America, let’s delve deeper into the exact size of these remarkable species and the differences between them and their subspecies. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The male moose weighs 1200 – 1600 pounds, females weigh 800 – 1300.
  • A bulls antlers can reach a width of 5-6 feet and weigh up to 80 pounds. 
  • Males are also taller than females, standing up to 7 feet high at the shoulder. 

How big is a moose? 

The male moose, also known as the bull, boasts an average height of 6.5 to 7 feet at the shoulder and can weigh upwards of 1600 pounds. Some can get even bigger. These enormous animals have huge antlers that are up to 6 feet wide. 

The female moose, or cow, has a height that ranges from 5.5 to 6 feet at the shoulder, doesn’t have antlers, and weighs considerably less than the males. With that said, the females are still massive animals. Learn more about both in this article. 

How big is a full-size moose?

Height 

Moose
Moose

An average moose stands at heights between 5 and 6 feet at the shoulder. These creatures are known for their heights, which makes them some of the tallest land mammals on Earth. 

Length

Moose usually have a length ranging from 7 to 10 feet, measuring from their head to their body. Their body length is further extended by an additional 2 to 3 inches due to the presence of their tail. However, their tails are short and vestigial, and they can’t use them to swish away insects.

Weight

These animals weigh between 800 and 1600 pounds on average, in general. However, you may observe some variations in these weights due to factors such as gender and subspecies differences. Another thing to consider is the environmental conditions in which they can be found.

The habitat in which these creatures reside greatly influences their weight, as different environments offer varying resources and conditions that can impact their growth and development. 

Antlers

Moose
Moose | Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Moose typically develop antlers that grow around 4 feet to 5 feet in length, however there have been reports of antlers over 6 feet in width. During the mating season, male moose or bulls rely on their antlers as essential tools for both competition and attraction to secure a mate. The size and condition of their antlers also show the bull’s overall health and genetic quality. 

North American subspecies 

There are a total of eight subspecies of moose, and each of them has adapted to their specific regions, with four subspecies being native to North America. 

1. Eastern moose 

Eastern moose
Eastern moose | image by Didymops transversa via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Alces alces americana

You can find the Eastern moose subspecies all over northern North America, especially from Alaska and Canada to the northeastern United States. Males outweigh females in terms of size, exhibiting remarkable antlers that can span up to a width of 6 feet. They can reach a height of 6.2 to 6.6 feet, and their weight ranges from 600 to 1,398 pounds. 

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2. Shiras moose 

Shiras moose 
Shiras moose  | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Alces alces shirasi

The Shiras Moose is also known as the Yellowstone or Wyoming Moose. It’s the smallest among the four North American subspecies and is the one that inhabits diverse terrains. Shiras moose’s height can reach up to 6 feet, and these creatures weigh between 507 to 758 pounds. 

3. Western moose 

Western moose
Western moose | image by Trougnouf (Benoit Brummer) via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific name: Alces alces andersoni

The Western moose is another subspecies you can find in boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Canadian Arctic, western Canadian provinces, a few northern U.S. areas, and even introduced to New Zealand.

It ranks as the second largest North American subspecies, standing up to 6.6 feet and weighing 992 to 1,102 lbs, with males possessing antlers that span a length of 4.9 to 5.6 feet. Females exhibit a smaller stature, standing at 5 feet 11 inches in height with a weight ranging between 750 to 926 pounds. 

4. Alaska moose 

Alaska moose
Alaska moose | image by Kevin Wood via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Alces alces gigas

The Alaska moose, which ranges across Alaska and western Yukon, is the largest subspecies in the world. With their tall stature, the males reach heights exceeding 6.9 ft at the shoulder and boast a weight surpassing 1,400 pounds. Their antlers span approximately 5.9 feet, and females stand at a height of 5.9 feet and weigh 1,054 pounds. 

Male vs. Female 

The size and weight of male and female moose differ significantly. Bulls or male moose display a huge size advantage, reaching over 6.5 feet and weighing from 800 to 1,500 pounds. However, cows, or their female counterparts, have a smaller build, averaging around 5.5 to 6 feet in height, with weights at 450 to 1,000 pounds.

Bulls also possess branching antlers extending up to 6 feet, which cows completely lack. These antlers serve a dual purpose: they serve a purpose for engaging in dominance battles and for attracting potential mates. 

How big is a moose compared to a person? 

Consider looking at the height of some NBA players like Devin Booker or James Harden if you want to compare the height difference of a moose with an average human. These individuals stand at about 6.5 feet, which is about a moose’s height. Be aware that this doesn’t account for the length of this magnificent animal or its antlers, which can be up to 6 feet long. 

How big is the biggest moose ever? 

In September 1897, hunters in western Yukon, Canada, shot and recorded the largest moose ever encountered, which happened to be an Alaska moose.

The staggering weight of this large species was 1,808 lbs, while its height at the shoulder stood at 7.6 ft. In 2004, there were also some reports of moose weighing 2,299 pounds and 2,601 pounds, but they were considered unreliable. 

Final Thoughts

When we observe the enormous stature of a moose, we cannot help but develop a deeper appreciation for this magnificent creature. It is truly remarkable how these animals have earned their rightful place among our planet’s most admired creatures.