The Eighteen Lake
The moose is the largest member of the deer family in North America and the world. It is the tallest mammal in both North and South America and is second only to the bison in the Americas in terms of weight. Common characteristics of the deer family include their hoofed feet, antlers which they shed each year, and the fact that they are cud chewers.
Unlike deer and elk, moose have palm-shaped antlers with small prongs projecting from the edges. Deer and elk antlers consist of tines; they have a long main tine with smaller ones branching off it. Moose have large, pendulous snouts and a bell or beard hanging from their throats. In healthy bulls in their prime, the bells may reach three feet in length. While their distinctively long legs may give them a gangly look, moose are agile animals, both on land and in the water. Although moose are not aquatic animals, they are closely associated with water. They seldom venture far from it. Their long legs help them navigate shallow lakes and deep snow. In deep water they are powerful swimmers, able to cruise across a lake at speeds of up to six miles per hour with bursts of up to fifteen miles per hour.
Moose range across much of Canada and almost all of Alaska, and only dip down into the lower forty-eight in some of the northern-most states such as Maine, Michigan, and Country, and down the Rocky Mountain chain to northern Utah and Colorado. They dwell in dense forests surrounding shallow lakes and swamps. They browse on woody plants, eating twigs, bark, and saplings in winter, and mostly softer aquatic vegetation and the tender tree shots and leaves of willows and aspens in summer.
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