If you’re looking for some information about how to avoid a moose attack and what to do if it happens, then you’re certainly in the right place. Find out all the things you need to know about moose attacks on humans so keep on reading to stay safe in the wilderness.
Are Moose Dangerous to People?
Moose are usually not aggressive towards people are are usually quite a peaceful animal. However, if they’re provoked or frightened, they can behave with aggression towards humans. And when they do attack, it can be quite dangerous because they’re over 7 feet tall and over 1000 pounds! Plus, they can run 30 miles an hour, swim extremely well and kick in all directions with their powerful feet.
According to Wikipedia, moose attack more people than wolves and bears combined. However, unlike bear attacks which are often deadly, with moose, there are often only minor injuries and not serious ones. That’s not to say that moose can’t kill you. They certainly can! Read on to find out more.
Something else to keep on mind is that moose are far more deadly when you’re inside a car than outside. Running into a moose on the highway at high speeds usually leads to serious damage to the car, the death of the moose and sometimes the occupants inside the car as well. They are big, big animals!
How Does a Moose Kill You?
Like many wild animal mothers with young children, they moose can be quite unpredictable and attack humans if she or the calf feels threatened. While they don’t have sharp teeth like wolves, or claws like bears, they do have powerful front feet that they can use to strike quickly and accurately with.
While you may attempt to climb a tree to get out of striking range of a moose, it can easily stand on its’ hind legs and hit you with the front feet while you’re in a tree.
Another situation besides mothers and young to be wary of is males during the rutting season. Testosterone levels are running high and besides the dangerous front feet, males also have big horns which they know how to use effectively. There are plenty of reports of moose attacking cars or trains with their horns and doing the same to people certainly isn’t out of the question.
Do Moose Attack People?
Moose attacks are not all that common. However, they certainly can happen and when they do, it’s mostly because of three particular situations.
- A mother with young calves who may feel threatened (late spring and early summer in particular)
- A male during the rutting season when testosterone levels are running high (in the fall)
- Being surprised such as when rounding a trail out hiking, particularly if young calves are around
- Brain worm is a kind of infection that some moose get which can cause them to become less afraid of humans. This may be the reason behind some of the encounters with people.
- If you have a dog, a moose may mistake it for a wolf which is a natural predator so keep Fido on a leash!
- In winter, when food is scarce, moose may come into cities to eat trash or scavenge for other kind of people food.
That said, when you do encounter a moose, they will most often choose to leave the area instead of attacking humans. This is similar to all other wild animals and if usually has to be exceptional circumstance if a moose does attack.
Can I Feed Moose?
In many countries around the world, it’s illegal to feed wild animals. This is done to protect them because if they become habituated to people, it may lead to dangerous human/animal encounters and the end result is usually that the animal gets put down.
NEVER feed a moose or any other wild animal for that matter. It’s as simple as that!
What Should you Do if you Encounter a Moose?
If you see a moose, here are some things you can do to avoid an attack:
- Keep distance between you and the moose. While this amount will vary depending on the circumstances, the more the better. Don’t force the moose to change their behaviour, but instead, change yours.
- Make sure that you’re not in between a moose and her young.
- Be attentive when out in the wilderness to avoid being surprised by wild animals.
- Make noise when hiking so that animals know you’re coming.
A Moose is Blocking My Way: What Should I Do?
If a moose is blocking the trail or path where you want to go, then there’s really nothing you can do except to be patient and wait for them to move on. Scaring or trying to startle them into moving may provoke an attack.
Keep your distance, look for a possible escape route in case of attack and then wait it out.
How to Survive a Moose Attack
If avoidance doesn’t work and the moose is going to attack, here are some tips for how you can survive it.
- If a moose charges you, run because they won’t usually chase you very far. Do NOT stand your ground with moose like you may do in some instances with a bear.
- Try to get a tree, large rock or some other object between you and the charging moose.
- If you get knocked down by the front hooves, get up and try to continue to escape.
- If you’re knocked down and injured badly enough that you can’t get up, curl into a ball and cover the back of your head with your hands to avoid damage to your vital organs.
- Consider climbing a tree but only if you can get high enough to avoid the front hooves when the moose is standing on their back legs.
- Get inside your car or a building if possible.
Signs that a Moose May Attack
There are a number of warning signs that a moose may attack. Here are the most important ones to be aware of:
- If they stop eating and look at you.
- Laying their ears back flat
- Hair on their body, particularly the back of their neck may stand up
- Lip smacking
- Chomping teeth
- Showing whites of the eyes
- Tossing head upwards (like a horse)
- Urinating on back legs
That said, these things can happen extremely quickly in the matter of a second or two so it’s best to avoid seeing any of these things in the first place because you may actually have very little between the warning signs and an attack.
Have your Say about Moose Attacks on Humans
Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding moose attacks, or for how to survive one should it occur? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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