The worried cries above are of a family who captured rare footage of a moose shedding one of his antlers last November near Laramie, Wyoming. Rest easy, that big fella wasn’t in any sort of trouble or pain, he’s supposed to lose them every year.
In this annotated video from National Geographic, we get to see just how easily a moose shakes off his antlers when it’s time to discard them (antlers are deciduous, or meant to fall off). Every year in late fall/early winter, male moose, called bulls, shed their antlers. Old bulls lose them earlier than young bulls though, sometimes in March. Mature antlers are made entirely of bone, compared to horns which are comprised of bone and keratin, the stuff that makes your nails.
Only the males, who can weight up to 1,700 pounds, grow antlers. The bulls use their antlers to compete for mates. And when they discard their antlers, they get eaten by other animals. Mmmmm, antlers.
A pair of antlers can weigh up to 40 pounds, so even in the animal kingdom guys will do ridiculous things to impress the ladies. It must be a total relief to lose those things and just relax for the winter. I hear the moose party scene really kicks into full swing come summer though.
Did you know moose shed their antlers? How would you have reacted if you saw this happen in-person? Let us know in the comments below.
Image: National Geographic/YouTube