Difference Between Moose and Caribou

Moose vs Caribou

Moose and Caribou are two of the very important deer species with some important facts to notice about them. They both have some similar features, but the differences are more certain than not. Those main differences are emphasized with a summarizing of their characteristics in this article, and it would be worthwhile to be aware of those facts.


Moose was originally described as a single species with two subspecies in early days, but studies state that there are two distinct species; Moose (Alces americanus) and Siberian Elk (Alces alces). They have a natural distribution range in North America, Asia, and Europe. Moose is a tall animal with a height at the shoulder that measures around two metres. The males grow larger weighing from 400 to 700 kilograms, while females weigh between 250 and 350 kilograms. Their antlers are covered with a furry skin or velvet. In addition, the projecting beams of the antlers are blunt and connected with a continuous and flattened board, which is also covered by the velvet. The moose are herbivorous and prefer many types of plant and fruits, taking more than 30 kg of feed a day. Moose live in herds and mostly active in the daytime. Their sexual maturity occurs around one year after birth and both male and the female call with loud grunts in Fall season for mating. The males mate with many females, and this phenomenon known is as polygamous. Moose have an average lifespan of 20 years and longevity mostly depends on the predator density and the denseness of trees in forests.


Caribou, Rangifer tarandus, aka Reindeer, is an Arctic and Subarctic deer species of Europe, Asia, and North America. There are several subspecies of reindeer varying according to the geographical localities that they live. Nevertheless, two major types of them according to the inhabited ecosystem known as Tundra reindeer with six subspecies and Woodland reindeer with three subspecies. Reindeer is usually a large animal, but it varies considerably, from 90 – 210 kilograms. The height at their shoulders is almost 1.5 metres and the body length averages around two metres. Interestingly, the coat colour varies among subspecies as well as within individuals. However, Northern caribou populations have lighter and Southern populations have darker coats comparatively. Most of their subspecies have antlers in both sexes, and those are covered with a velvety fur. Moreover, reindeer have the largest antlers compared to body size among all the members of the deer family. There is a close association of reindeers with humans, as they have assisted in transportation for people by pulling sleds over snow. In addition, according to Christian culture, a group of reindeers pull the legendary Santa’s sleigh.

What is the difference between Moose and Caribou?

· There are six subspecies of moose, but the diversity is slightly higher among caribou with nine subspecies.

· They both range in North America, Asia, and Europe, but caribou can live in much colder temperatures compared to moose.

· Moose is much larger compared to the body size of caribou. In fact, moose is the largest deer in the world.

· The forms of antlers are different in the two deer species.

· Relative to the body size, caribou has larger antlers than moose.

· Caribou is an omnivore, but moose is always a herbivore.

· Moose has a characteristic snout, but it is mostly a general deer-like snout in caribou.