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Thread: Do moose steal other moose calves?

  1. #1

    Default Do moose steal other moose calves?

    I've been watching a new mother with twins for the past few days. The babies seem to be less than a week old. Then this morning I was watching as another female came over and the two started fighting. This went on for about 20 minutes. As one receded, I saw the other female start moving the babies but now there were three. All three followed her into hiding and then the other female came back and started charging again. I'm sure I would have noticed if there had been three little ones originally because I've been watching them for hours.

    Did anyone ever hear of moose stealing other babes? Have you ever seen triplets?

  2. #2

    Default adoption

    I have heard that moose would take on another baby. That was from a biologist.

  3. #3


    I don't think it is a cow "stealing" anothers baby. It happens because cows are so aggresive that they will attack anything during the first month or so of their newborns lives. Sometimes when two cows clash due to over protection, the loser is run off and her babies are left behind, and moose and other ungulates will adopt abandoned or orphaned calves.
    I saw a cow around Delta Junction a few years ago with four calves, and I think it unlikely that she birthed all four.

  4. #4
    Moderator David Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1997
    Redding California

    Default Adoption

    I asked a biologist friend who has just come off of moose twinning surveys. He has been working with moose for 30 years and while he would not admit to being an expert, he's pretty smart about them.

    Anyway, he said "I think the explanations offered on this question on the forum pretty much jive with my understanding. I don't think cows so much "adopt" calves, but sometimes calves inadvertently take up with another cow."


    David M Johnson
    Anchorage, Alaska

  5. #5
    Member moose-head's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    @ Seminary, Dubuque Ia

    Thumbs up

    WOW I had no idea Good thread.


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