Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Aquatic Alces

Moose swimming (c) John Ashley
Cow moose swimming across our lake
Awoke this morning to a bug-eyed moose swimming through the front yard. It's not every day I get to write that sentence. But it seems like once a year, here at the end of the road, we spot a moose swimming across our mile-wide lake. It always makes us nervous, what with their spindly legs and all, but moose (Alces alces) are actually pretty good swimmers.

I dug up an unconfirmed mention of moose swimming nine miles at a time, which would be rather amazing and somewhat suspicious. Moose eyesight is reported to be somewhat poor relative to other wild animals, so what incentive would a moose have to swim so much further than it can clearly see? Following a scent? Fleeing biting insects? Regardless of the reason, a one-mile swim is almost a mile further that I can paddle these days, so I should feel less suspicious and more amazed.