City Cast

Get to Know Colorado's Moose

Adrian González
Adrian González
Posted on October 10
A Shiras moose in a golden grove.

A Shiras moose on the loose. (Patrick J. Endres / Getty)

It’s hard to describe the feeling of encountering a moose on the road or in the wild — it’s somewhere between awe and panic. They’re majestic creatures, but can be quite dangerous if you get too close. Let’s get to know Colorado’s moose and how to admire them safely.

Colorado’s Largest Game Animal

The moose you see in Colorado are what’s called a “Shiras” moose — they come in at about 1,200 lbs and are the third largest mammal in the deer family, after the Alaskan-Yukon moose and Canadian moose.

Moose are herbivores, so their diet consists of plants and fruits, most of which are aquatic species, since they have the ability to close their nostrils underwater.

Reintroduction Works

Wolves have been dominating conversations about reintroduction lately, but moose held that spotlight back in the ‘70s. Moose were a rare sight before then, so Colorado Parks management arranged for two dozen specimens to be released in northern Colorado in 1978. The population thrived and in 1995 state legislature designated the town of Walden as the “Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado.”

A moose at the foot of front entrance stairs in the snow.

If a moose knocks on your door, don't answer! (Paul A. Souders / Getty)

Practice Safe Moose-Viewing

When in doubt, stay far away. Moose can be territorial and fiercely defensive of their younglings. They can also be aggressive toward dogs, since they closely resemble their predators. If you do come close to an aggressive moose, CPW recommends you run, dive and find cover or climb away.

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