By its body proportions, antlers' shape and size, and demeanor, the moose is the mighty symbol of the boreal and subarctic zones of the entire northern hemisphere. To describe moose country, an immense area of different habitats, is not easy. However, in simplified form, moose country is the variously dense mixed forest, called taiga or "northern bush," on the one hand; on the other hand, it is the open "forest-tundra," where conifers, ten to fourteen feet (three to four metres) high, dwarf-birch, alder and willows are scattered, mostly around lakes, bogs and streams. The climate differs from zone to zone, and moose prefer only those zones where the average summer temperature does not much exceed sixty degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
Wind chill or take abundance help the moose to stay cool in the coastal and relatively humid zones, as well as in the much drier interior. Thus, in evolutionary terms, the moose has had to adapt both to humid and dry climates, and to dense and open habitats...
North Americans refer to this animal as the moose; however, throughout continental Europe, it has often been known as the "elk." The scientific name, Alces alces, also translates into British English as "elk." For North Americans this has been a source of confusion, as the name "elk" is also given to another member of the deer family, the wapiti (Cervus canadensis). Unfortunately, the common names of many living things differ from region to region, from country to country. On the other hand, the scientific names, albeit frequently awkward to articulate, are universal in their usage and eliminate the confusion generated by the more familiar appellations.
Excerpted with permission from Moose Country: Saga of the Woodland Moose. Copyright ©1991 by Michael W. P. Runtz. Pictures and text copyright © 1991 by Michael W. P. Runtz. All Rights Reserved. (First two paragraphs taken from the Forward contributed by Dr. A. (Tony) B. Bubenik.)
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