This massive bull moose dropped his antler, much to the surprise of the spectators watching.
Due to their massive size and somewhat gawky-looking appearance that moose are members of the deer family, aka Cervidae. As such, moose shed their antlers just like other North America deer species like the whitetail deer, elk, and caribou. The only difference is that moose's antlers are much more massive than any deer antlers with their longer tines and heavy palmation.
While moose shed their antlers every year, the chances of witnessing this spectacular event are quite remote. And the odds of catching one of these antlers hitting the ground on video are even less likely.
However, it does happen on very rare occasions. In this video from National Geographic, a family in Wyoming is watching a male moose when the moose's head shakes and sends a large antler flying. Much to the surprise of the people watching!
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!