Although moose are members of the deer family, aka Cervidae, they look much different than a whitetail deer, as they're wildly larger in size and sport antlers with longer tines and heavy palmation. And, like deer, elk, and caribou, moose, too, shed their antlers. However, the chances of actually seeing this rare event occur are incredibly slim. In the following video from National Geographic, we see the exceptional event unfold right before our eyes. Here we have a family observing a male moose in Wyoming when they see it shake its head, sending a massive antler flying.
For those who are unfamiliar, bull moose start growing antlers anew every early spring after losing their set the previous winter. Antlers are the fastest-growing bones in nature. It doesn't matter whether it's a white-tailed deer or the largest bull moose. Antler growth is fast and furious. They develop under a protective layer of velvet and grow over the course of a summer. In the fall, when the rut starts and testosterone levels increase, the animals rub the velvet off their antlers and the bone hardens. After that, the antlers are used to intimidate rivals and even fight them during the breeding season.
Once the rut is over, a type of bone cell called an osteoclast breaks the weld between the antler and the skull at the pedicle and the deer, elk, or moose drops their antlers. Shed antlers don't just litter up the forest floor either, they have their purpose providing calcium and other nutrients to squirrels, mice, porcupines and more. That is, unless human shed hunting enthusiasts find them first. The sport has greatly increase in popularity in recent years in the United States.
The people in this video were clearly genuinely stunned by this event. Clearly the child asking whether it was a male or female moose had no idea the animals dropped their antlers at all. We just hope they picked it up after the fact. It makes for a great conversation starter to go with the video!
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