Moose Vs Elk | Key Differences Between Moose and Elk

moose vs elk

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Can you still not differentiate among moose vs elk? It’s okay because sometimes, the same looking animals make it difficult for us to name them.

Let’s puzzle it out!

So, What is the key difference between elk and moose? Moose are the largest deer species while Elk is the second largest. Moose are heavy in weight compared to Elk. Moose have a bulbous nose with skin hanging from the chin while elk have a thin snout. Elk likes to stay in herds while moose prefer staying alone. Moose are good swimmers and can stay underwater for up to 30 seconds while elk can’t. Heroic!

Amazingly, elk can run faster than moose but moose is not slow either. Both Elk and Moose are ruminant mammals. Moose have flat and broad antlers while Elk has large antlers with points.

Let’s move into the deeper more between elk vs moose.

Important Facts About Elk

  • Male elk have antlers and they grow as fast as one inch just in a day. Sunlight helps elk to grow their antlers. The more sunlight they receive, the more growth will be seen in antlers because sunlight boosts testosterone levels. In some elks, the antlers can weigh up to 40 pounds.
  • Elk has an extra loud voice which seems impossible to be made just through the voice box. Actually, an elk moves both his nostrils and lips to produce that weird sound. Scary, right?
  • The bugling produced by elk is one of the forms of communication. Surprisingly, elk also uses their ankle-bones to produce a cracking as well as popping sound to warn the other animals that an elk is approaching.
  • Elk likes to scratch their antlers on a tree to scratch its bark. Elk thinks this will impress female elk. Not only this but this also polishes the antlers.
  • Well, male elk dig a hole in the ground and fill it with urine then they take a bath in it thinking that the scent of their urine will attract a female elk to mate with them. Gross!
  • Although male elk weigh about 700 pounds making it the largest of the whole deer family, they can run as fast as 45 miles per hour. They can sometimes outrun horses even. Don’t misjudge!
  • An elk stops grazing or looks at you when he thinks you are too close to it. So, maintain your distance and don’t forget to bring your binoculars.
  • Don’t try to imitate the bugle of an elk especially in their mating season as it will irritate it.
  • Keep your pets chained and don’t let them bark at the elk or else the elk might get pissed off.
  • It’s recommended not to feed anything to the elk.

Important Facts About Moose

  • Strangely, moose like cool weather and they adore snowy winters so they live in cooler areas.
  • Moose don’t like bending down to eat short grass so they eat tall grass and shrubs. In winters, moose are likely to eat pine cones and woody shrubs.
  • Moose like to swim longer and they can even stay underwater for up to 30 seconds. Amazing!
  • When it’s spring season, moose find and eat plants that are underwater.
  • Bellow is one of the ways moose adopt to attract female moose.
  • Moose have only one to two babies which are known as calves.
  • You can’t outrun a moose because it runs at up to 35 miles per hour.
  • Antlers of moose can weigh more than 65 pounds and can grow up to 6 feet.
  • Female moose don’t have antlers. Now you find her less scary?
  • Male moose usually fight over a female moose and they use their antlers as a weapon.
  • Moose have relatively poor eyesight but fortunately, they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
  • Bull moose are darker in color than cow moose

Key Differences Between Elk Vs Moose

However, moose is the largest species of the Cervidae family but elk is the second largest species. Elk has long fur and dark-colored neck while moose has a dark brown color full body. The basic thing which will help you to differentiate between elk and moose is the size of their antlers and the face shape of both. 

Moose have a bulbous nose while elk have a thin snout. Elk has large antlers while moose have flat and broad antlers. Moose travel alone while elk move in herds. Moose has more weight than elk. You will most likely find moose in Alaska and Canada but they are also available in Latvia, Scandinavia, Fennoscandia, England and Russia. Elk is a native of Eastern Asia and North America.

Social Characteristics

Well, moose is the largest and heaviest species of the deer family. Some adult male moose have antlers like an open hand and some have twig-like antlers. Hunting and other activities have decreased the number of moose and so they are not so common everywhere. It eats aquatic plants and plants found on the Earth. Bears, gray wolves and humans are the biggest moose predators. Moose like to travel alone and they are rarely seen in groups. Mostly, moose form herds with their little ones. Moose run faster if angry. Their mating season starts in the autumn and that’s when the fights start among moose bulls.

Now moving to the elk, they are also one of the biggest members of the deer family called Cervidae. Just like other members of this family, elk also has long legs and big antlers. Elk is not as huge as moose but they are larger than deer. They are up to 4 to 5 feet tall. Just like female moose, female elk moose don’t have antlers as well. Elk can be found everywhere but they prefer living in woodlands. 

Not just woodlands but they can also be found in swamps, open mountains, clear-cuts and other forests. Elk likes to live in herds which can have up to 400 elks. The herds are divided based on gender. A dominant elk can have its yearlings and around 6 female elk in a single herd and the male elk defend it throughout the mating season. Elk can be seen as more active in the mornings and evenings. A cow elk delivers one calf in a gestation period of six months. Right after 20 minutes, a newborn calf can stand up on its feet.


Both male moose and male elk are called bulls. Female moose and elk are called cows. Moose and elk both belong to the deer family called Cervidae.

Both are cud-chewing mammals with hooves also known as ruminants. Male moose and elk both have antlers while their females lack antlers. They are both hunted to obtain meat and to use their antlers. Moose and elk are both huge in size.

Moose Vs Elk Size

Comparatively, moose are larger in size than the elk. Elk are seen to be 5 feet tall and moose are 6.5 to 7.5 feet tall. On the other hand, a male moose can weigh up to 700 kg and a female can weigh up to 360 kg. While a male elk weighs about 330 kg and a female weighs 240 kg. So, now you surely know that moose win over elk in both size and weight. Congrats!

Comparison Chart between Elk and Moose

Tracks and hooves
Larger and deeper track marks and heart shaped hooves and pointed tips
Lighter track marks and tooth shaped hooves and blunt tips because they travel long
NamingIn Europe, elk is referred to moose
Wapiti is used for elk
LocationCanada, Alaska,Latvia, New England, Scandinavia, Fennoscandia, Estonia and Russia
Eastern Asia and North America
DietPine cones, bark, leaves, tree buds, shrubs, twigs and aquatic plants also
In summers they eat grasses and in winters they eat woody growth. Also like violets, dandelions,hawkweed,clover, aster and mushrooms
Speed35 miles per hour
45 miles per hour

Moose vs Elk vs Caribou

Usually, it isn’t easy to know the difference between moose, elk and caribou so people often confuse them. Let’s look deeper to spot their differences. The most important point is that moose are the largest of all and have a bulbous nose with skin hanging from their chin known as a bell. Elk and Caribou are unlucky in the way that they can only reach 3 to 5 feet in height. While moose can be 6.5 feet tall.

Caribou have C shaped antlers once looked from the front. Moreover, moose have wide as well as flat antlers and elk have elongated antlers with many points emerging from them. Beautiful!

Caribou have light-colored fur on their necks than the rest of their bodies. However, elk have dark-colored fur on their necks compared to their overall bodies. Moose are totally different as they have dark brown fur all over their bodies.

Well, Caribou like to grunt while elk like to bugle in a loud and high pitch. Moose is again different than the rest of the two and they wail as well as grunt too. Again moose is leading the game!

Moose vs Elk vs Deer

Most of all, deers differ from elk and moose because the male deer is called a stag and female deer is called a doe. While the males of both elk and moose are referred to as bulls and females as cows. Just like moose and elk, deer are also ruminant mammals. Deers shed and regrow their antlers each year. Deer are the smallest while moose and elk are the largest species of Cervidae. Deers are comparatively less dangerous to humans but they are likely to attack humans during the mating season while elk and moose are most dangerous.

The average size of the deer can be up to 120 cm. Deer like to stay in herds just like elk but moose are solitary animals and are seldom seen in herds. The coat color of deer ranges from brown and red, sometimes it can be chocolate brown. Deers often have spots on their bodies. While moose are darker in color and elk have dark color fur on their necks.

Moose Size

Moose are larger in size than any other animal belonging to the deer family named Cervidae. You can find a male moose weighing up to 700 kg and female for up to 360kg. Even the female moose weighs more than the other deer family’s males. Well, compared to the other members, male elk can weigh 700 pounds. Male caribou can be measured up to 600 pounds and male deer for 300 pounds only. This proves that whenever you encounter a moose, maintain your distance and hide behind the tree or truck. Moose can turn out to be more dangerous than our thoughts.

difference between moose and elk

Features of Moose Vs Elk

Broad and flat

Large with points
380 to 700 kg

320 to 330 kg


Face and nose

Bulbous nose with bell below the chin

Thin snout


2.4 to 3.2 m

2.1 to 2.4 m
35 mph

45 mph
Dark brown

Dark brown in winter and tan in summer. They have dark fur around their necks.

How Much Bigger is a Moose Than an Elk

No matter if a moose belongs to the same deer family as an elk but the moose is as huge in front of the elk as a triple story building in front of a double story building. We can easily conclude it by knowing the average weight difference among both. Even a female moose crosses elk in terms of weight and size. A male moose is seen to be 5 to 6.5 feet taller but the elk reaches 4 to 5 feet only. 

Are Moose and Elk The Same

Not at all, moose have a bulbous nose with some skin hanging from the chin while elk has a slim snout. The color of the fur on elk’s neck is darker than the body and the moose’s whole body is of the same dark color. Elk likes to stay in herds while moose like to travel all alone. Obviously, when someone is so huge why would it be scared to stay alone?

Not only this but moose have broad and flat antlers and moose have large antlers with points.

Want to know something even more interesting? It is seen that when a female elk is presented with an option to choose between the male elk with antlers having  9 points and the other with 10 points, she chooses the elk bull with 10 points to mate with. How choosy!

Who Would Win Elk or Moose?

As now you know that moose are more blessed in terms of weight and size so it is certain that moose will win over an elk. Some people even say that a moose can kill a small bear using its antlers. Moose don’t have canines and claws but they either attack their prey with their antlers or through their front feet. 

Male moose are seen to be really aggressive during their mating season while cow moose can go to any level in order to protect their offspring. This is why it is recommended to avoid moose and not to irritate it or feed it anything.

Why Are Moose Called Elk in Europe?

When the British started colonizing America, they figured out two common-looking species of deer and they didn’t know what they were called so they used to call elk as gray moose and moose was called a black moose. They used to find elk also known as wapiti much similar to red deer but the difference was that wapiti was not red as the deer and was larger than the deer. This is the main reason why moose are called elk in Europe.

Final Verdict

So now you know the differences between moose and elk? We have clarified it all the way. Moose are larger in size but run slower than the elk because of their weight. Moose like to stay alone rather than in herds unlike elk. Moose have the same dark color body while elk has a dark-colored neck compared to its body. The sound which elk makes is called bugle and they use both their lips and nostrils to produce that sound. Sound that moose produce is called below. 

Unlike elk, moose are great swimmers and not only this but they can stay underwater for up to 30 seconds. Moose like to eat aquatic plants as well. The difference between moose and elk can also be spotted through their antlers as moose have broad and flat antlers but elk have large antlers with different points. If you liked this article then don’t forget to vanish the confusion of your friends and family by sharing it.

Roland Carroll

Hi, This is Roland. I love Hunting and it's my hobby. I love to share my hunting experience in this blog. Keep reading all the articles here and let me know what do you think about this site.

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