Moose calves

by Grand Mom Helen
(Concordville, Pennsylvania)

Moose Twins

Moose Twins

Hello Mark,
I just returned from a fantastic trip/cruise in Alaska. On the Coach ride from Fairbanks to Denali, we saw a mama moose with twin calves grazing in grassy/shrubby area between highway and the woods. The driver/guide made the comment that moose have a single calf one season, twins the next birth season, then single calf, followed by twins and so on. True??

I have enjoyed reading your informative answers,
Grand mom Helen

Helen, thanks for your question.
I would say your driver is misinformed although I'm sure he means well.

There have not been any in depth studies of moose calf twinning but there is some data available. I have no information on Denali specifically, but there are a few reports from other areas in Alaska.

To quote (Gasaway et al. 1992), "Twinning varies widely across North America and is likely correlated to habitat quality ....
The twinning rates among cow moose observed in Alaska are wide spread. From as low as 22% (sampled in 1977 - 1978) Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to a high of 90% (sampled in 1988) Innoko River, Alaska.

There are several other areas in Alaska where twinning of moose calves have occurred that fall between the ranges mentioned. No data are consistent with the information your tour guide spoke of.

~ Mark - The Mooseman

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