Ever Wonder How Big a Moose Is? You Aren’t Alone!
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How Big is a Moose?
A couple weeks ago, my precocious three-year-old nephew asked me, “Hey, how big is a moose?”
It’s a fairly typical question for a child. They want to know what something is, then, eventually, everything about that thing. Since he’s been hooked on large mammals, “jungle cats,” and fish, I decided to offer him some perspective.
Fortunately, where I live in West Virginia, there’s a Cabela’s only a few miles away. Photos don’t always do large animals justice, nor do videos. Since moose aren’t indigenous to the area, the taxidermied displays at the “World’s Foremost Outfitter” had to do.
As expected, he was in awe of the quantity and size of the animals on display – especially those polar bears!
What I didn’t expect, however, was the fact that I was also a little mind-blown over just how big a moose really is. As someone who has spent a lot of time outdoors (and writes a lot about the outdoors), not a whole lot surprises me about “nature” nowadays.
But with that simple question in mind, I decided to find out everything I could about the moose and their sizes.
The Biggest Moose Ever Recorded
As a good starting point, let’s take a look at the largest recorded moose. According to SCI, which tracks hunting records, the current world record belongs to hunter Debra Card.
As you can tell by those antlers, moose can get pretty big! This particular species, the Alaska-Yukon, is the largest in the world. At a massive 1,800 pounds, this near-ton specimen only weighed about 700 pounds less than a Ford Fiesta.
Card’s record has held for over two decades – she hunted this moose in September 1999.
Now, there’s nothing to say that there aren’t bigger moose out there, but no one has successfully hunted and claimed one. The reality is that almost every moose that has ever existed has been smaller than the one above, though.
Likewise, even world records for other species are significantly smaller. The largest Western Canada moose recorded weighed 1,500 pounds. The record for Eastern Canada moose is slightly lower at 1,400 pounds. For comparison, the smaller Shiras moose clocks out at a max weight of around 1,000.
Average Size for a Moose
As I mentioned above, the world records (as with any species) will obviously trend high. But what is the average size for a moose?
Well, that depends on the species, location, sex, etc.
For simplicity’s sake, we are going to use the term “moose” as a catch-all. There are eight species of moose (six of which are found in North America, and only seven of which still exist), but we’re going to take aggregate ranges.
In terms of weight, male moose are generally heavier than females. Ranges for a mature male moose typically span between 750 and 1,350 pounds. Females, on the other hand, tend to fall between around 550 to 900 pounds. Obviously, there is going to be some variance in size. Some males and females will fall outside of these ranges, but consider these a baseline.
There is more to size than simply weight, however. Height and length are also important considerations.
While ranges can fluctuate, you will find most moose between around 4.5 to 6.5 feet in height. Keep in mind that these heights account from ground-to-shoulder, though. A male with his head (and antlers) raised can be much taller!
In terms of length, an average, mature moose can range between seven to a little over ten feet in length!
How Big is a Moose Compared to a Car?
Now that we have a baseline on average size, let’s consider the size of a moose when compared to a car. We mentioned that the world record was still around seven hundred pounds lighter than a Ford Fiesta.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound very impressive because a Fiesta is anything but massive. That said, consider that even a compact car carries an engine, seating, four tires, etc. There is a lot that account to the vehicle’s weight.
A moose, on the other hand, is skeleton, organs, fur, water, a little bit of fat and a whole lot of muscle. There’s isn’t much fluff when it comes to body composition. A mature male could also stand a good foot taller than the fiesta (at the shoulder).
What About When Compared to a Truck?
Now, when compared to a Nissan Titan, the height disparity between the moose and the vehicle evens out a bit. Since most Titans runs around 6.5 feet in height, the top of the cab would likely stand a bit taller than the moose’s shoulders.
If the moose happened to be massive, then its shoulder might actually have a couple inches on the truck.
That said, male moose can have some pretty massive racks. Adding another two feet in height to a mature male makes one of the largest pickup trucks on the market look a little short.
Size Compared to Other Animals
Ok, so the above image is definitely not “to scale.” It is, however, a fun-but-rough representation of how big a moose actually is. A fully mature male moose can almost double the height of a whitetail buck – a relative.
An upright grizzly bear, however, could have a good foot to foot-and-a-half over the moose. The bear would come nowhere near the moose’s length when standing, however. Likewise, if the bear was on all four legs, it would be considerably shorter.
As for our household companions, it is clear that the moose absolutely dwarfs them. At the shoulder, a moose can stand seven to ten times taller than your average house cat!
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