Jack and I had an amazing moose experience in Healy a few days ago. Otto Lake is moose haven. We saw at least 6 moose in a 24 hour period. Here is a photo story of a cow moose and her two babies, and her yearling that she is trying to shoo away. Be sure to click on the first one and scroll to the right to see how it all went down.
The cow moose on the right chased the smaller one, her yearling, away. He doesn’t look too scared but she charged at him several times.
Casually sipping water. The lake is very shallow.
Does he not look just terribly devastated here?!?!? It’s really a sad sight.
She came back several times.
She’s looking back at him but seemed also to be preoccupied.
She heads back the other way.
You can see how close she is to our camper!
And now we know why she was shooing the yearling away! She’s got two calves to take care of.
She keeps trying to scare him away.
One baby ventures out.
But rushes back to the shore.
Then both of them wade into the marshy grass to nibble.
Then they come back toward us, walking along the shore.
Looks like a kangaroo face to us.
What a cute little bugger.
Here comes Mom getting in my shot.
And they follow her.
Trying to keep up.
Before they walk down the hiking trail (aka game trail) Mom stops to nibble.
Looks like they want to nurse.
You can see how very skinny the mother is. It’s no doubt that she needs to constantly eat to keep up her ability to nurse and take care of her babies. Her yearling just doesn’t have a place in this family anymore.
They were very alert but not scared at all by us.
Sometimes it seems like they made the same general movements but it could be that the smaller one, on the left, is copying the larger and more assertive one.
They nuzzle noses and do a lot of other movements that remind you of horses.
They are a lot to take care of, and a lot to trip over.
Sorry for not posting for such a long time! I often ask Jack to take more photos on the road but he’s too busy trucking! So you’re stuck with a few photos of this lovely young moose chomping on willows.
She was really feasting up a storm on Chena Hot Springs Road yesterday.
She’s stripping the leaves off the willow branches.
And doing a thorough job of it!
I bet you didn’t know Moose could open their mouths that wide! (Just kidding, that’s just her lip I think, but it looks funny.)
Here she is being alert. She is actually quite small for a moose that is without a mother. I’m sure she’s a yearling and probably only about 4 1/2 feet at the shoulder (wild guess!). (Calling her a “she” is also a guess.)
We’ve never heard of this before but there’s a squirrel around here who likes to scrape the tines off of moose antlers!
Several times over the summer we heard a mysterious scraping sound coming from the area where Jack’s moose antlers are stored in the woods. We knew the resident squirrel was up to something and sure enough, when we inspected the antlers a few days ago, the tips were scraped off the tines! Jack says he thinks it’s the squirrel sharpening his teeth and you can actually find a couple of references to this on the internet. (Here is a link to a video of a squirrel sharpening its teeth on some other kind of antlers, in some other part of the country. Our squirrel looks much different, smaller and more orange-red. It could be that the squirrel is getting some kind of nutrient from them too and in the video it almost looks like the squirrel is eating the bits of antler.)
Jack hopes to get a chance to replace the antlers this hunting season!
A lady moose visited us the other day, wandering through on her search for bigger and better twigs to nibble. How an animal that size can sustain a pregnancy nibbling twigs, I have no idea. But you can see that she is big in the belly and really is on a search for the best most tender nutritious twigs. She makes her rounds daily I suspect, if our dog’s fear of going outside lately is any indication.
Moose and dogs are natural enemies since dog’s ancestors, wolves, are predators of moose. You would never see our dog trying to take down a moose though (lol). Somehow over the centuries the barking mechanism has taken over for the “try-to-eat” mechanism I guess. You can find examples of the moose-dog feud on You Tube.
So, this one doesn’t have a calf but it’s likely that her hormones have kicked in and she would probably not back down from a challenge. I stayed up on the deck totally out of her reach. When a person jogged by with their dog she was very attentive.
As they ran by, she didn’t take her eyes off of them until they were out of sight. And her ears were locked straight forward. I’ve never seen a moose so obviously aware of every movement in its surroundings.
She might be tough, but look at those beautiful eyelashes!
This wolf was the first serious wildlife Jack and I saw, soon after entering Yukon Territory, Canada. Quite a thrill for both of us. Maybe a little more for me since Jack drives the Dalton and sees this stuff all the time…
Driving near the border of Yukon Territory and British Columbia we saw some bison relaxing in the late afternoon sun.
And then big horn sheep in Jasper National Park.
And here’s our not-so-wild dog Sport jumping over a log, acting like he is 4-years-old again.
Last but not least… us enjoying the late afternoon sun on a mountain in the Black Hills.