Moose are fast swimmers despite their bulky size. They can swim up to 12.4 miles (20 km) with a speed of at least 6 miles per hour (9.5 km/h), searching for food or habitat to survive. Apart from their swimming ability, they are also exceptionally good divers. According to a scientific source, moose can dive as deep as 16 ft. (5 m) if they detect their favorite aquatic plants at the bottom of the water.
Here are the five reasons why moose swim
- Moose are susceptible to overheating. Even temperatures as low as 60F can stress their body. So, they need to cool down in the water.
- Moose love aquatic vegetation and riparian plants so they need to do some swimming and diving to get to them.
- Moose seek refuge in the water if they feel a threat from predators such as wolves and mountain lions. They are better swimmers than most of the local predators. When they are in a close encounter with a predator, they run into the water knowing that other predators will have no chance.
- Moose changes their habitat during times of scarcity. The moving process sometimes requires extensive swimming.
- Moose improve their health by being in the water. For instance, they can be infested with ticks and bugs when the weather is warm. By swimming in the water, they can wash those suckers off. Additionally, moose’s swimming ability prolongs their life as the water takes off the pressure from their bones and joints.
15 Facts about moose’s swimming ability
- Moose can stay under the water for over 30 seconds or more.
- When ice melts, they spent most of their time in the wetlands, lakes, and rivers to feed on aquatic plants.
- Moose is one of the fastest swimmers among the hoofed animals.
- Moose can swim faster than most Olympic runners with a 6 mph (9.5 km/h) speed because the average speed of Olympic swimmers is around 5 mph (8 km/h).
- Did you know that each moose consume about 55 pounds (25 kilograms) of plants a day? Yet, they live in the Northern parts of the world where inland plants are scarce. So, they learned to survive on aquatic plants by swimming and diving.
- Moose have flexible nostrils that close when they dive, preventing water from going into their lungs. In a way, moose’s nostrils act like a valve.
- Moose prefers aquatic plants over land plants because aquatic plants hold more nutrients and minerals.
- Moose’s thick fur serves as insulation and lifejacket inside the water. Air molecules trapped in moose’s fur raises them to the surface, making it easier for them to float and swim inside the water.
- Although they are good divers, moose prefer shallow waters which is convenient for them to access the vegetation there.
- Moose contributes to the marine ecosystem. Because they release 2.7 ounces (78 grams) of nitrogen by defecating and urinating. Nitrogen is the essential fertilizer for plants.
- Moose’s calves start swimming within a few days after their birth. Usually, young calves swim by their mothers to protect themselves from predators.
- Moose are not safe even inside the water as killer sharks can chase them down. However, sharks can choke on moose’s thick fur like the case on Newfoundland’s coast.
- Swimming moose may look like a lake monster from a longer distance. Some people spread rumors that they sighted a monster in a lake but it turned out to be moose.
- Moose use their strong legs and wide hooves to swim in the water.
- Moose’s bulbous nose allows them to chew and swallow aquatic plants while they are underwater. So they do not have to come to the surface every time they take a bite at the bottom.