Do moose have fleas?

by Wendi
(Saskatchewan, Canada)

I am wondering if moose have fleas. I recently was on a moose hunt and after handling a moose carcass, had bites in areas where fleas would likely bite - creases where clothes are tighter fitting . I am just wondering if I should check the bedding where I stayed. Possibly bed bugs? Geesh! Or maybe just black flies.

You have asked a great question Wendi!

I have handled over 25 moose carcasses over the years and I cannot say I have ever found fleas on them. Tics yes.

Black flies can be a real problem too! I recently returned from a northern trip where, once the daytime temp rose the flies came out in numbers. The flies I speak of are small... maybe 2 or so mm long. But man can they bite. They especially like to get into the creases you speak of. I think this is a survival instinct for them, it is hard for an animal or human to rid themselves of these little creatures in those tight areas. In animals they like to get in their ears.

Now bed bugs... yuk! A possibility, but would vote for the flies.

Those flies love the swamps, and love to eat us!

I have posed your flea question to a moose biologist friend of mine... I'll post his response once I receive it.

Comments for Do moose have fleas?

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by: Wendi

OK, I'll go with the black flies. I know they were swarming around and I did get bit on some of my open areas - hands, face - but didn't know they would sneak into the hidden creases. Ha ha.
Thanks for your help. I think we are going up one more day to see if we can wrap it up in this early season. If not, late season, it is....and I don't think we will have to worry about bites then. It has been an extremely nice fall here this year.

Fly Bites
by: Mark - Site Owner

It is amazing actually where those little buggers can get. I remember a few years back getting bites around my waist, right where my shirt tucked into my pants. They would have had to get into my shirt, likely around my neck then climb or fall all the way down. Once nestled in they could chew away. I had little red welts around the waist area.

I normally don't react to bug bites... but that year my forearms had huge welts on them. I figure they had been on the carcass before they bit me... ouch! Probably an rejection from the moose blood.

No Fleas on Moose
by: Mark - Site Owner

My friend, Dr. Vince Crichton has confirmed there are no fleas on moose.
No for fleas, but they do have ticks and that is the moose tick – not the wood tick – moose tick is one host tick not like wood tick which can be 2 or 3. Cheers Vince

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