Difference Between a Moose and an Elk

Moose vs Elk

Moose and Elk are the largest among the members of Family: Cervidae. Therefore, it would be important to discuss the differentiation of an elk from a moose. The natural distribution seems alike but with some distinctions. The physical characteristics along with other biological aspects are interesting in both moose and elk.


Elk is an even-toed ungulate with a hugely built body, which measures more than 2.5 metres of height. Males, called bulls or stags, grow larger with a body weight could go as high as 480 kilograms, while females, known as cows or hinds, weigh almost 300 kilograms. They live in forests as well as the habitats along the edges of the forests. The shaggy neck and the presence of mane are important features of them. Additionally, their neck is darker and the rump is white, those are unique features too. According to the climate, elks change their colour and the thickness of the coat. In winter, the coat gets lightly coloured and thicker, while it is dark tanned with short fur in the summer. They are social animals living n groups called herds. One single female dominates the herd, i.e. these are matriarchal herds as like elephants. Males have widely branching antlers with about one metre span in dendritic configuration. During their mating period, bulls make repeated high pitch vocalization Stag sheds the antlers in late fall after mating because of reduced testosterone in body. The antlers regrow every year and a very high rate of more than 2 centimetres per day. However, upon mating, the hinds get pregnant and the gestation period lasts for 240 – 260 days. The newborn calves have spots as in many deer species and disappear by the end of summer. A healthy elk lives about 15 years, but sometimes there are records of 25-year olds.


Moose is the largest among all the deer species with a weight range of 400 – 700 kilograms. Sometimes male have grown more than 3 metres, but the females are always smaller. They range in the Northern part of the North America and temperate Asia and Europe. One of the characteristic of this ruminant is the presence of hanging dewlaps. Moose is light brown to black in colour, depending on the season and the age. They are not social herbivores but prefer solitary lives. Bulls have enormously built palmate antlers to attract cows and to use in fighting for females during mating season. The legs of moose are paler in colour than the rest of the body. Other important features of moose include drooping lips, rotatable ears, and prominent hump. They mate during September and October of each year and the gestation lasts for about eight months. If there is enough food, newborn twins are possible. Calves are reddish brown in colour, and mother cares for the calves until the end of the next pregnancy. Usually, their lifespan ranges from 15 to 25 years.

What is the difference between an Elk and a Moose?

- In comparing these big-made deer species, moose ranks top among all the Cervids in terms of body size, while elk is the second.

- Moose has hanging dewlaps that elk does not.

- Moose’s’ palmate antlers are comparable to elk’s widely branched dendritic antlers.

- Skin colour is darker in moose than in elk.

- The legs are paler than the body colour in moose, whereas elks have darker legs compared to body colour.

- Additionally, moose has drooping lips, but elk does not.

- Moose prefer solitary lives while Elks live in matriarchal herds.

- Moose’ rotatable ears are another interesting feature to differentiate from elk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/george.templeton.984 George Templeton

    The bullet points have it backwards (the paragraphs are correct): Moose live alone, while elk live in matriarchal herds.