Moose Skeleton


About a month ago Kita said there was something interesting up the road. Ben, Kia and I walked out to see what was up. About 2,000 feet down the road Kita led us up into the woods for a couple hundred feet. Low and behold, her discovery was a dead moose. I didn’t see any obvious signs of what killed it and there was food in its digestive track so I doubt it starved to death.

I don’t have enough knowledge about how teeth indicate age but perhaps someone else can comment.


I took these photos this week, after the flesh had been mostly cleared away. Someone large, perhaps the black bear, had dragged the hide and one leg out from under the remaining skeleton. It had moved that about 15 feet away before abandoning the effort. There isn’t much left to eat so that was a rather desperate move to put in so much effort to move a couple of hundred pounds of skin and bones. I doubt anything smaller than the bear or catamount could have dragged those items out from under the skeleton.

See Ode to Melvin the Moose for a followup on this.

39째F/33째F Overcast, Light Rain

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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16 Responses to Moose Skeleton

  1. simplekatie says:

    I always find it so amazing to see how nature takes care of the dead. I suppose that’s morbid but it reminds me that in the natural world there is no waste.

  2. pablo says:

    This serves as a reminder to me that we should always floss when we brush.

  3. TalaMuir says:

    wow, now that’s impressive.

    Steph

  4. Emily says:

    Whoa, that beats our pig skull!

  5. Leslie says:

    Do you think the thing that dragged away part of the carcass/skeleton could have been a human?

  6. Leslie, I don’t think it was a human. What ever it was that dragged a leg and the hide only took it a short distance and what it was taking would be the least interesting portion to a human is my guess. I think more likely it was a hungry bear just waking from sleep and then it gave up either because it decided it wasn’t worth the effort or it got scared away – the road is just a bit down the hill and the town was grading it this week.

  7. Kristianna says:

    I don’t see the antlers in these photos. Were they at the site? I truly enjoy your blog.

  8. Kristianna, It is the wrong season for the moose to have antlers. They shed them each year and regrow them. You can see the antler attachment point in the far right edge of the photo of the skull. This is what cued me into the fact that it was a male.

  9. abe/happy says:

    Thankgoodness I ate breakfast before I visited this morning ;-)

  10. Oliviah says:

    How funny, it looked like dinosaur bones at first glance. I put a link to your blog on mine today. Long overdue.

  11. Peggy says:

    Grandson like this photo. Said you lived in a cool place! LOL

  12. Keith says:

    Hi Walter ! Well as usual when I get my daily dose of the SMF, I like to go poking around for some older articles I havn’t read before. You had talked about a possible Black Bear or “Catamount” (Cougar, Mountain Lion) moving the Moose. Have you ever seen one in Vt yourself ? The Vt Fish and Wildlife Service concider’s them extinct. There was one spotted and a cellphone picture taken of one here in Central Mass a few years back. But it’s hard to rely on Pic’s anymore with just about everything being Photoshopped. Thank’s for inviting me to the Farm everyday via e-mail , I look forward to it everyday at 7 !

    • Yes, we’ve seen catamount, that is to say mountain lions, several times in our woods and fields – a few of those encounters up very close and personal. We’ve also seen their prints and scat time to time. Many other people in Vermont have seen them. There is speculation that the state government does not want to recognize the catamount’s existence because they don’t want to have to spend money on an endangered species.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        Has someone mentioned to the government that if they don’t do something to educate the people about the existence of mountain lions in the state, the government might end up dealing with the aftermath of a human mauling or death? Mountain lions will attack people, if people act like prey.

        At the same time, from what I’ve just spent a couple minutes reading, it seems like nobody’s been able to lead any VT fish and wildlife people directly to legitimate spoor. If you can do that, Walter, you might get the fish and wildlife people to start taking action.

        That being said, I have no idea how hard-headed the state fish and wildlife team might be.

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