Elk vs Moose - Big Differences Between Elk and Moose

Elk vs Moose – 7 Big Differences Between Elk & Moose

Elk and moose are distant relatives of deer that are majestic animals. These animals’ massive size and enormous antlers make them stand out from the crowd. Despite their similarities, moose, and elk are not the same.

Size comparison between an elk and a moose in a natural forest setting, accurately reflecting their real-world proportions
Size comparison between an elk and a moose in a natural forest setting, accurately reflecting their real-world proportions

There are many similarities between moose and elk despite being different species. As a result, identifying them accurately can be quite challenging.

So what separates moose from elk? Antler shape is one of the main differences between moose and elk. Elk’s antlers are branched, extended, and can span 6ft between the tips. In contrast, moose antlers are flat and large. A moose’s weight is typically higher than an elk’s.

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Elks are smaller than moose. There is no limit to how tall moose can grow (from hooves to shoulders) or how much they can weigh as adults. There are usually less than 300 elks per herd, and they usually stand 5 ft tall.

What is an Elk and How Does it Look Like?

What is an Elk and How Does it Look Like

An elk is a large, four-legged mammal that shares many characteristics with deer. For the most part, they live in forested areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. Grass and leaves are the main ingredients of an elk’s diet.

It is possible for them to eat shrubs and twigs occasionally, as well. There is a lighter color on the rump of elks, which contrasts with the reddish-brown coat. It is also common for male elks to fight with enormous antlers during mating season.

Where the antlers would be on females’ heads, they usually just have small bumps. The elk lives in herds and is a social animal.

Mating season is the only time when males and females stay together. Females and their young live in separate packs during the rest of the year, while the males live in bachelor herds.

What is a Moose and How it Looks Like?

What is a Moose and How it Looks Like

There are moose throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Among the deer family, they are the largest. Due to their excellent swimming abilities, moose are typically found in forested areas near water. They are herbivores, so they eat mostly leaves, twigs, and buds.

As well as aquatic plants, they eat the vegetation below the surface of ponds and lakes. In deep snow, moose can move thanks to their long legs and humped backs. They shed their coats every spring and have thick brown fur.

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Antlers are used by males (bulls) to defend their territory and attract mates. Females (cows) are smaller than males.

Comparison Chart of Elk and Moose (Size, Habitat)

Comparison Chart of Elk vs Moose (Size, Habitat)
Comparison Chart of Elk vs Moose Size, Habitat
Location RangeWestern North America, Central, and East AsiaWidespread across North America
SizeHeight: 4 to 5 feet at the shoulder Weight: 485 to 730 poundsHeight: 5 to 7 feet at the shoulder Weight: 840 to 1,550 pounds
HabitatForests, forest edges, meadowsAround rivers and lakes – particularly areas with plenty of aquatic vegetation
ColorGolden BrownDark brown/black
NoseTypical nostrils with a deer-shaped noseOverly fatty pads over the nostrils with a large, rounded nose
ThroatNo DewlapLarge Dewlap
AntlersA deer’s horns are thinner and pointed. Around 4 feet highOpen, wide beams with flat and broad surfaces. Longer than 6 feet
BehaviorQuick to FleeStay calm and don’t flee quickly
Social StructureHerd AnimalSolitary
TracksTooth ShapedHeart Shaped
Lifespan10 TO 13 Years15 TO 25 Years
PredatorsThe Siberian Tiger, wolves, coyotes, brown and black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes live hereWolf, brown bear, black bear, mountain lion, Siberian tiger, killer whale, Greenland shark

Major Differences Between Moose and Elk

Major Differences Between Moose and Elk

Elk vs Moose – Appearance

Elk vs Moose – Appearance

A moose is larger than an elk. Bull elk weigh about half that of a bull moose since an elk weighs, on average, 710-730 pounds. There is no comparison between a deer and an elk and no comparison between an elk and a moose.

A deer’s antlers have sharp points and are spindly, similar to an elk’s antlers. A typical elk color is light brown, although it may also appear golden or light yellow. It has a narrow snout and no distinct “bell” shape along its neck.

Elk are often seen sprinting across roads while driving, just like deer. Elks are much smaller than moose. The average weight of these animals is 840-1500 pounds.

Moose are usually heavier than horses. Elk weighs about half as much as bull moose, which averages about 1200 pounds.

The antlers of this animal are also broad and flat. It is more difficult to distinguish young moose from elks due to their antlers, which do not appear flat. Some moose may appear black at times because they are usually dark brown.

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The nose is bulbous, long, wide, and large, similar to that of a horse. Under the throat, there is a “bell shape.” An area near the chin of a moose is called a “dewlap”.


Elk vs Moose – Range

They also have somewhat different ranges. A majority of Canada, Alaska, and parts of the northern contiguous United States are home to moose, which live in cold, snowy climates.

While elk can be found from British Columbia to Central America through Mexico, they are more prevalent in the western half of North America. The Rocky Mountains, aspen parkland, and prairies are all places where you can see elks.


Moose vs Elk – Tails

They use their tails to balance while running when they have long, tapered tails. However, the two tails differ in some notable ways.

Elk have longer tails that are dark brown with a white underside, while moose have shorter tails that barely reach their hocks. As they maneuver through thick brush and deep snow, moose with their shorter tails have an advantage.

Habitat and Territory

Moose vs Elk – Habitat and Territory

Foothills and parklands are preferred habitats for elk. Parkland areas are usually where elk migrate before the winter months. It is common for elk to stay in large numbers together once they have moved onto parkland.

In contrast, moose are typically found near lakes and rivers, places with lots of water. Aquatic vegetation (their preferred food source) is common in their preferred habitats. Summer months are the perfect time for moose to cool off in bodies of water.

Unlike elk, it is common for moose to remain in the same habitat throughout the year. It is important to note that moose live in several different types of biomes.

There are numerous habitats where moose can be found, including temperate forests, tundra, and taiga.

These animals prefer disturbed areas due to their abundant vegetation and ease of access. In addition to natural events, human activity may also play a role in causing this. Aquatic vegetation and wetlands are their favorite habitats.

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Moose vs Elk – Fur

Since moose and elk live in regions with harsh winters, both of them have thick fur to keep them warm. Despite its thick and long hair, the thick fur is actually composed of both an outer layer and an inner layer of guard hairs.

As they dive underwater to find food, moose and elk use this honeycomb structure to keep the water out. Beginning in summer, the thick fur sheds.

There is only one difference between the fur of an elk and that of a moose. The fur of a moose looks almost black, unlike the fur of an elk.


Moose vs Elk – Aggressiveness

There is considerable aggression in both elk and moose. The presence of dogs, traffic, hunger, fatigue, and humans getting too close can potentially agitate and stress them.

Although they will not draw first blood, they won’t back down. You should keep a safe distance from moose and elk if you see them and find a different route if you spot them.

If you see a moose or elk lying under or beside your deck, do not try to chase it away. They are likely to become aggressive and attack if they feel threatened.


Moose vs Elk – Breeding

In addition to their breeding habits, these two species differ in how they reproduce. Rutting season is a very aggressive time for male moose, and they often fight over mate rights.

At the same time, one dominant male mate elk forms harems, three to five females. One or two offspring are typically born to females of both species.

Moose vs Elk – Hunting

Moose vs Elk - Hunting

Despite their differences in appearance, hunters often mistake moose for Elk while hunting. Moose are killed by hunters every year in more than a dozen cases. Hunting licenses can be revoked if a hunter violates these rules, which can result in a fine of $1000.

Elk Vs Moose Size

Elk and moose are two of the largest species in the deer family. Both animals are impressive in their own way, but when it comes to size, there are some notable differences between the two.

Moose are usually larger and longer than elk, with the average male moose weighing around 840 pounds, compared to an average male elk weighing around 700 pounds. In terms of height, moose also typically stand taller at the shoulder, reaching heights of up to 7 feet, whereas elk stand at around 6 feet tall.

These size differences make both animals unique and fascinating creatures to observe in the wild. Whether you’re an avid wildlife enthusiast or simply curious about these magnificent animals, there is always something new to discover when comparing the size of elk and moose.

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While elk prefer areas along streams and watering holes, moose may live in the same areas within the forest. Hunting down moose is made easier by their attitude toward humans, one of the reasons for their ease of hunting.

Questions About Moose vs Elk

The largest of the three is the moose, which can weigh up to 1800 pounds. The hooves on the shoulders of these animals can grow to 6.5 feet. There is only a 3 to 5-foot height limit for elk and caribou.

The antlers of a moose tend to be rounded and flat, whereas those of an elk are sharper and more pointed. In addition, moose are simply huge animals.

Up to 1,500 pounds and seven feet tall, some of these creatures can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Besides their aggressive temperament, they’re also relatively peaceful if left alone, though they are much more aggressive than elk.

This is the only species of the genus Alces and belongs to the New World deer subfamily (Alces alces). Among all the existing deer species, it is the largest and heaviest..

The habitat of elks is threatened by predators. Bears, mountain lions, and gray wolves are some of the species found here. Bobcats and coyotes can prey on calves.

Last Words

To distinguish elk from moose, it is important to understand the above-mentioned factors carefully.

There are many differences between the two animals, including physical appearance, behaviors, eating habits, etc. That’s it for today, guys; see you at the next one!


About Author

Hi, I’m William. a hunter, part-time blogger, and SEO Editor at Hunting Monitor. I have experience with hunting blogs for the last few years. I’m here to share my experience with beginner hunters. More about me here.

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