- Most Alberta towns and cities continue to develop into what used to be untouched wildlife habitat. This, combined with increasing urban park networks, means that it's easy for moose, and other wildlife to wander into populated areas as they search for food.
- Moose are built to move easily through any terrain. They are strong swimmers and their long legs help them cross any landscape.
- Wolves and bears are the main predators of moose, so moose may be more likely to wander close to populated areas to avoid them.
Threat to people
Normally, moose are not aggressive; however a moose that is stressed, a bull moose in the fall rut or a cow moose protecting her young may be easily provoked into an attack.
An agitated moose may show some of the following behaviours:
- Neck and back hairs standing up
- Ears going back against its head
- Lip licking
- Always keep your distance from any wildlife, even if they appear calm or friendly.
What to do if charged by a moose
- If you are charged by a moose, run away as fast as you can and try to find a car, tree or building to hide behind. If the moose knocks you down before you reach safety, do not fight - curl up into a ball and cover your head.
How to prevent confrontation with a moose
- To help prevent a possible confrontation, do not allow your dog to harass the moose and do not try to scare the moose off by yelling or throwing things.
- Never approach moose calves that have been left alone by their mothers. The mother may have temporarily left the calf in a safe spot and may not be too far away. Moose mothers can also be very protective. If she senses that you are too near her calf, she may defend them.
What to do if there is a moose in your yard
- If you live in an urban neighbourhood where the moose may have difficulty returning to the wild because of roads, buildings or other barriers, contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife office at 310-0000, or if outside business hours, call the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
- If you live on an acreage or other location that provides easy access to the wild, allow the moose to move off on its own time. The moose may just be resting or trying to cool down in the shade of the buildings.
- Ensure escape routes are kept clear and the curtains are drawn on patio doors and large windows so the moose doesn't mistake them for escape routes.
- If the moose is blocking a route you need, try to find another way around or wait for it to leave.
- Moose that are experiencing a moderate to severe tick infestation – commonly in late March or early April – may seek shelter in open buildings such as sheds, barns or carports or near exhaust ventilation from houses or other buildings. Moose with tick infestations will have bald patches and in extreme cases may seem to have no hair. These moose can be stressed and aggressive. Contact your nearest Fish and Wildlife office.
- Keep your dog inside. A moose will sometime go out of its way to kick at a barking dog because it is annoying it, causing it stress or distracting it from making an easy exit from your yard. The moose may be extra defensive because dogs resemble wolves, moose's main predator.
- Children and cats should also be kept indoors until the moose has moved on. This precaution is for their safety.
What to do if you see a moose in the city
- In winter, moose may use the city's park paths, streets and alleys for easier movement, especially if there has been a freeze/thaw/freeze pattern that has left the snow difficult to move through.
- Moose may also be attracted to the road salt or de-icer that coats cars in winter. If you live in area where moose can visit, watch for moose as you approach your car, or wash your car more frequently to avoid a build-up of salt.
- If you see a moose during business hours, contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife office at 310-0000, or if outside business hours, call the Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
How to avoid a collision with a moose
- The moose rut happens in late September to mid or late October. At that time, moose are frequently on the move during the day and the night. Adjust your driving habits and be alert when travelling on roads closely bordered by trees or other cover.
- Moose may be drawn to roadways as a means of easy travel or for the roadside vegetation.
- Slow down. Driving at a slower speed increases your reaction time, making it safer for you, your passengers, your vehicle and wildlife. More wildlife collisions happen when drivers are less cautious, such as when the weather is fair and the roads are bare.
- Pay attention to the yellow, diamond-shaped wildlife warning signs on the side of the road. They have been installed in locations near quality wildlife habitat and where wildlife-vehicle collisions are reported more frequently.
- Moose are more active at sunset and sunrise. Be mindful of movement on the sides of the road at these times, especially if you are near a natural area. If you have a passenger, ask them to watch for moose and other wildlife.
- Moose frequently travel near rivers, streams and wetlands. Be alert as you drive pass the water bodies in your city.
- Remember that lights from oncoming traffic can make it difficult to see an animal on the road at night.
- If you notice the vehicles in front of you slowing or stopping unexpectedly – prepare to stop, this could be an indication that an animal may be on the road ahead.
What to do if you see a moose when driving
- Look for more than one – it may be a cow moose travelling with her calf.
- Do not honk at the moose in an attempt to scare it away; this may cause the moose to charge your vehicle.
- Brake firmly if an animal is directly in your vehicle's path and avoid swerving as this could result in you striking another vehicle or losing control of your own car.
- Leave plenty of room and go slow when driving around an animal on or near a road and please remember that a startled animal could run in any direction.
Call a Fish and Wildlife office if you need further advice on the moose in your town or city.
Connect with a Fish and Wildlife office near you:
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