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Do Wolves Swim: Which Ones, How, Why, and How Far, Guide


If you’ve seen a wolf swim, it may seem unusual. we’re usually aware of wolves living in more forested and mountainous regions, so do wolves swim? And if so then how far and for what reason?

I’ve been exploring and researching this topic and will help explain more to you in this article, starting with the quick answer…

All wolves are comfortable in the water and are excellent swimmers. They can swim up to 8 miles and can withstand icy water. Usually, they swim to traverse water obstacles or pursue prey, and up to 25% of their diet is from water. Sea wolves are more proficient swimmers, their diet is 90% seafood.

That summary might invoke more questions, and it’s similar to another article I wrote on whether wolves can climb trees.

So let’s tackle all the additional swimming questions next.

How wolves swim

In general, much like dogs, all wolves can swim and have similar skills designed for swimming in the same way dogs do.

Wolves swim with the help of their paws and body weight. The type of wolf, their build, and their weight often determine how well they can swim.

How they swim is largely determined by how deep or shallow the water is. Wolves will wade – or bound through shallow streams. Or, in deeper waters, such as lakes, or the sea, they will adopt a more swim style technique.

Why wolves swim

One common reason why wolves swim is to help maintain their daily portion of meals. Many believe wolves just eat obvious animals like elk or deer. But in reality, wolves have a varied diet.

Depending on their location, up to 20% of the Alaskan coastal wolf’s diet consists of fish like salmon. but can also include seals, river otters, clams, herring eggs, and even scavenging on whale carcasses.

Here’s my article which gives a list of what a wolf eats. There are some interesting species on there!

How far wolves swim

The furthest known recording of a wolf swimming was over a distance of 7.5 miles (12 km). Depth is not a factor as they swim while keeping their head above the surface. Only obstacles such as strong currents, breaking waves, or predators would impede or prevent them from swimming.

white wolf swimming
white wolf swimming – image source

Do all wolves’ species swim?

In general terms, all types of wolves swim in order to fill a part of their diet. However, the “Coastal wolf” also called the “sea wolf”, is well known for its regular swimming behavior.

But, sea wolves are much rarer than other species of wolves. Their numbers have declined and are now found almost exclusively With few exceptions, such as the possible existence of the Australian wolf.

Here are 20 Quick Facts About Wolves

Sea wolves

Seawolves have adapted to become genetically different from other wolves. This makes them a truly unique subspecies of wolves – and not just as the type of wolves that are great swimmers.

Seawolves have evolved into two main varieties, being mainland coastal wolves and island coastal wolves. 

In the case of mainland coastal wolves, although they are great swimmers, they spend most of their time inland.

Island coastal wolves, as the name suggests, spend most of the time swimming between small islands. With some searching, you can find these wolves among the small islands along the Canadian coastline. The coastal wolf habitat, though, is now centered around southeastern Alaska. 

Both these types of coastal wolves are adapted to be proficient swimmers in order to catch their prey. These coastal wolves are the ones better adapted to swim for several miles to traverse islands, or to hunt.

Sea wolf diet from water

Most coastal wolves fill their diet with seafood, which means more than 90% of a coastal wolves’ diet comes from swimming and hunting in the sea. This diet pattern differs greatly from inland wolves

Wolves who inhabit more mountainous and wooded areas have an average weight of about 115 pounds, whereas the coastal wolves have an average weight of 75-80 pounds. This weight gives coastal wolves the best weight, strength, and agility ratio to provide optimum stamina and performance when swimming.

Are some wolves “water dogs?”

Waterdogs is a vague term applied to wolves because they are excellent swimmers.

Coastal wolves are proficient swimmers because they have more greatly perfected the art of swimming for a long time, further, and in deeper water in order to catch prey.

The term water dogs mostly refer to species who prefer only shallow water where they can touch the bottom. Here they can wade, paddle, bathe and hunt.

But wolves, in general, have a much greater ability and desire to swim in order to hunt, catch prey, and survive. Rather than just paddling. 

But how fast can a wolf swim? Let’s look at that next…

How fast can a wolf swim?

A wolf in deep but calm water, in full swimming mode, can attain a speed between 3-5 mph, depending on its strength and other factors. They can also leap (or bound) across shallow depths such as streams.

wolf patrolling the coastline

Related articles

What eats a wolf

What do wolves eat

Where do Timberwolves live

Can Wolves climb trees?

Facts about the arctic wolf

Are there wolves in Australia

Learning resources

We’ve found the ideal resources on amazon to continue your learning at home and at school. Help support our efforts for wildlife causes and keep this site working for nature.

The Hidden Life of Wolves

Want to learn more about wolves in general? Increase your knowledge about wolves and get educated further with these fascinating books on Amazon.

Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

To close

We hope this has provided a thorough answer to the question “do wolves swim”. As well as information on which ones, how far and other related wolf swimming facts.

Do Sharks Have Bones? How a Shark’s Skeleton Works


You might naturally think a powerful animal like a shark has sizeable bones, and not only that but a strong bone density too, particularly around the jaw. But actually, do sharks have bones at all? Here’s where we investigate…

Sharks do not have bones. Instead, sharks have cartilage that forms a skeletal structure. It’s the same type of tissue found in the human ear. Cartilage density differs throughout the shark’s body, it means sharks can be lightweight, fast, and flexible enough to handle their own weight efficiently.

Sharks are largely hidden in the depths of the ocean. With few people actually daring to take a closer look at this wild animal and even scarier with its menacing jaws.

But do sharks actually have bones? And if not, then what do they have? …

Do Sharks Have Bones?

As strange as it may sound, a shark’s body does not contain a single bone. Instead, a shark’s skeletal structure is made entirely of cartilages.

This is why sharks fall into the category of cartilaginous animals.

Cartilaginous animals are those whose skeletons are entirely made up of cartilages. 

Therefore, sharks also fall into the category of Chondrichthyes fish – which means “Cartilage fish” as opposed to Osteichthyes, which means bony fishes. 

There are mistaken reports that a shark’s body contains up to 356 bones. Some people and regions even believe that a shark’s teeth are made out of bone, which is also not the case – more on that shortly.

This is also the reason you won’t find any fossils related to a sharks bone skeleton. Only their teeth fully preserve as fossils.

So first, this brings us to the question of what do sharks have instead of bones?

side image of a shark under water
do sharks have bones

What sharks have instead of bones

Unlike most vertebrate animals – even us humans, sharks have a lightweight structure of cartilages. Some often mistake cartilage to be bone.

To make it even clearer, here’s a detailed explanation. 

You can understand the difference between bone and cartilage in your own body.

Simply trying to bend your forearm, or your thigh is impossible. (don’t try it!), you just cannot do it.

This is because we have bones, and bones are strong, rigid, and inflexible. 

We do have areas that are flexible though. Your ear will bend and flex. Your nose to some extent too.

This is because these two areas are made out of cartilages. Cartilages are much more flexible than bones.

Cartilage is a rubbery tissue framework, it can often harden into bone. This is the reason why newborns have rubbery and flexible legs when they begin to walk.

This is when the bones have not fully ossified around the cartilage core.

But with a shark, no bones are growing, or will ever grow. Their entire structure depends on cartilages. Cartilages still provide enough support and strength for structures to form.

Cartilage in sharks body is very well structured. Enough to offer this animal all the strength and capabilities to do what it needs to achieve in the water.

Cartilage density in various areas of the shark

Some parts of the shark’s body have heavier or denser cartilage than other areas. 

A shark’s vertebrate has much denser cartilages than its outer structure. So different parts of the body have variable densities of cartilages.

A shark’s jaw is also made out of cartilage, again in a much denser form than found in other areas of the body.

a shark’s skull is not made of bone

Regarding a shark’s skull, they are called chondrocranium. The word “chondro” is derived from the word Chondrichthyes.

Just as the legs of newborn humans and during very early life exhibit flexibilities which can be seen when a baby is learning to walk. A baby’s head is also in a delicate stage of chondrocranium.

But as humans grow our body parts – including our skulls, form bones as an inner layer of these cartilages.

Is a shark’s jaw made of bone?

A shark’s jaw is not connected to its skull.

The cartilage support a jaw requires (and parts of the backbone) needs to be stronger. This is provided by blocks which, due to their structure, are described as “Tesserae”.

A shark’s Tessellated cartilage is a mosaic of small mineralized blocks of calcium that give greater structural support. But at the same time, Tesserae are very light and flexible – just like cartilage.

The majority of sharks have only one layer of these tesserae blocks. A minority of sharks can have more than one, or even up to five layers of these blocks.

The more layers, the more strength the shark will have. This provides strength sufficient enough to bite into and break up its prey.

Overall, these layers are incredibly strong and sturdy.

Are shark’s teeth made of bone?

With jaws come teeth, and similar to humans and many other species, the teeth of a shark are not attached to its jaw.

Instead, the teeth of sharks are attached to their gums. These teeth are made up of tissue called “dentin”, or dentine. Which is not the same as bone.

This stronger and more dense tissue on the teeth tends to fossilize very well.

White teeth that you might find fossilized are usually from a recently dead shark, whereas darker teeth are fossilized teeth.

Sharks also have something called “dermal denticles”, also called “skin teeth”. These teeth can also fossilize well. Sharks also have multiple rows of teeth that will keep appearing to replace lost and old or broken teeth. 

But sharks are a large and powerful creature, so why no bones? Let’s fill that detail in as well since there is a reason behind every creation.

Why sharks don’t have bones

Sharks are often large and heavy animals. On average, a shark can weigh up to 8,000 pounds.

Surprisingly, if a shark was to become beached, it’s likely to end up suffocating under its own weight.

This is because sharks have no ribs.

So although being huge and powerful, sharks suffocate under their own body weight, and if out of the water they would struggle to cope with their own weight.

This is one of the reasons why by nature, sharks don’t have bones. here’s a video which echoes what I’ve discussed above.

Would having bones be better for sharks?

Cartilage is very light and flexible. This lightweight and flexibility allow sharks to move around and handle themselves extremely quickly and effortlessly. It also helps sharks to conserve energy they might otherwise expend maneuvering a heavier bone-filled body.

Sharks need to be fast in order to catch their prey quickly and efficiently. Bones would not enable them to do that, but cartilage does. 

More shark information

If you’re interested in this topic, you might also be interested in whether shark have tongues?

If not then take a look at the wealth of other nature related articles on rangerplanet.com

Do Lions Live in the Jungle: Where Kings of the Jungle Live


Since childhood, we’ve all known the lion by its famous title “The King of the Jungle”. So you’d be right to ask, do lions live in the jungle?

Let’s provide you with a clear understanding of why lions don’t live in the jungle or not and if not why they are called the king of the jungle. starting with a summary answer…

Lions do not live in the jungle. Lions live in grassland, savanna, plains, dense scrub, and open woodland. Lions are called the “King of the jungle” because the term “jungle” in places like India and Africa mainly refers to the open and vast space of territory in which lions live.

Lions are called the kings of the jungle for a number of reasons. There are stories and myths behind the title that have shaped our understanding of this meaning. The film jungle book and Hollywood don’t really depict it correctly, so let’s put those aside for a moment and explore the facts and reasons around this saying…

Do lions live in the jungle?

Only a few centuries ago, lions were commonly seen throughout Africa, the middle-east, southern Asia, and even southern Europe. But as of now, lions can only be found in Africa and a small portion of India.

The decline for this comes from humans who always perceive lions as a threat to human lives and livestock.

Aside from this, the prey available for lions to feed on is becoming more scarce. This is due to several environmental factors and human activities.

Here’s the list of what lions eat.

However, wherever they live is not classed as jungle, certainly not as we regard a jungle to look like.

Although it may seem less Jungle-like, lions commonly live in grassland, savanna, dense scrub, and open woodland – and not in the jungle.

savanna landscape
savanna landscape – lions live here
jungle landscape
jungle landscape – lions do not live here

Living in a jungle for a pride of lions is not the most suitable location. Lions like to be able to survey the landscape, they like and need good visibility to locate and stalk their prey. The dense undergrowth of the Jungle simply doesn’t provide this view.

Here’s a map outlining the known approximate territories of the Asiatic lion, these more open areas are ideally suited to the way lions lives and hunt…

map of asiatic lion territory
map of asiatic lion territory – Christophe cagé, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So then, why has the lion always been called the king of the jungle? Let’s explore why that is next…

How lions came to have the title – The king of the jungle 

There are reasons why the title “The king of the jungle” came into being, and why lions were believed to be living in the jungle.

The main reason dates back to ancient times, with the evolution of language, and certain other terms used in different parts of the world that refer to different biomes, regions, and landscapes.

So let’s take a look at them in a little more detail. 

The title “the king of the jungle“ most researchers believe seems to have originated from India.

In Hindi (a language used in India) the word jungle means “not an inhabited place”. This covers a variety of meanings – from forest to the wilderness, wold, desert, wasteland, rocky regions, and really, any space without significant human habitation.

In Hindi, the word jungle emphasizes “emptiness” and not actually a forest or the actual meaning of jungle as we all know it to be.

In India, the word Jungle mostly refers to steppe or desert, which actually, are places in which lions live.

As such, in India, their meaning of jungle and where lions live tends to go hand in hand making the title “The king of the jungle” seem far more sensible.

And it’s also important to mention, there are no real tropical forests in India, so this clearly shows in India the jungle is not actually a jungle in the same sense that we all refer to it.

But rather it means only the emptiness like the open-savannah terrain. This is a far more suitable meaning for where lions actually do live.

Modern meaning in rural north India

Even now, in rural north India, the term jungle is used to describe something completely different from the English meaning of jungle.

In these places, jungle means fields, margins of cultivated lands, and even common grazing land.

However, it’s unknown exactly how or why the meaning of jungle in “English” terms contradicts the Indian meaning for the jungle. Where the two languages diverged on the meaning is unclear.

Many though, embrace the English meaning of jungle – which refers to the thick tropical rain forests with tall trees, dense canopies, vines, and dense undergrowth.

Although, lions have been seen passing through the Kafa biosphere reserve. The reserve covers 760,000 hectares of montane rainforest in Ethiopia. However, lions are really only passing through during the dry season. 

So that’s the jungle part understood, let’s now look at why lions are called the kings within the jungle…

an african lion - king of the jungle
an african lion – king of the jungle

Why lions are called the king – of the jungle 

There are a few reasons, and to help keep this simple, we’ll refer to “jungle” simply meaning the place where lions live, be it the Indian meaning or English meaning.

A true ruler and protector

Lions are highly territorial animals, which means they rule their territory through fame and notoriety. Just like a King, the male lion and even lioness fight to protect their territory from other animals and other pride of lions.

Although they live within a pride, just like a ruler – or a king, the male lion keeps watch over his territory, while the lioness, does the hunting and the rearing of young. 

Strangely the lionesses are even ready to fight and die for their territory while protecting the male lion, or “king”.

The lion is considered fearless

Lions can be aggressive and strong in every way – just like kings.

Their hunting style and their aggressive, and fearless nature elevate them as the kings of the jungle.

Aside from defending their territories, they dominate most other wild animals like cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards. They will aggressively hunt down and eat their prey.

Even though, pound for pound, the tiger is larger, stronger and more intelligent. Because Lions works in packs, they have a distinct advantage.

In this manner, lions demonstrate and spread the fear among all the animals around where it lives – its jungle. The unmistakable roar of a male lion even sounds like the king of the jungle.

The lion is a powerful symbol

The power of lions has always been understood since ancient religious times. It has been mentioned in multiple religions, along with their respective symbols.

When lions are used as symbols it’s always to emphasize aspects of kingship, bravery, strength, power, and fearlessness.

richard the lionheart, King of England, coat of arms

Lions represent the symbols of kingship

Here’s one example where the lion has been taken to form a king’s own coat of arms, “King Richard the Lionheart”. In England, the lion is represented across national emblems.

These interpretations only served to enhance the lion’s reputation and therefore the name of the king of the jungle. All the characteristics lions possess mirror those historically sought within a real-life king or ruler.

Image source Author, CC BY-SA 4.0

Here are more reasons why the Lion is held as the image of the King of the Jungle

  • With their large flowing mane, they look formidable
  • They stand as the leader of a pride of lions
  • Lionesses, working as a team bring down larger animals
  • Their roar is considered one of the frightening sounds

More nature information…

Be sure to check out our other similar articles – such as what do lions eat! And the related article on if lions eat giraffes?

Do Sharks Have Tongues? Yes, but Only Three Sharks Use Them


Do sharks have tongues? You’re not alone. This article will give a clear understanding of if sharks have tongues, what are they made of, can they taste using it, and much more.

Sharks have tongues, which are known as “basihyal”, are short, stout, small, and not flexible, have no taste buds, and are not that useful. Only 3 sharks, carpet sharks, bullhead sharks, and cookie-cutter sharks have different tongues that are used to help eat food.

Sharks do have tongues

Sharks do have tongues, just like human beings and many many animals. But shark’s tongues don’t serve the same purpose as it does for human beings.

A human tongue serves different purposes – it’s a multi-purpose organ.

A human can use the tongue to taste the food, to move food around in the mouth, it is flexible and it also has many taste buds within the tongue.

In addition to this, obviously, humans use their tongues to talk. The human tongue is considered the strongest muscle in the body by mass.

But shark’s tongue does not serve these purposes. Most researchers believe a shark’s tongue to be a short, chubby, and immovable organ that serves no real purpose for the shark – not even the taste buds.

This is why a shark’s tongue or any other fish’s tongue is not called a tongue, they are called “basihyal”.

Cartilage

A shark’s body is entirely made out of cartilages, instead of bones. Sharks also don’t have ribs. Because they do not need a cage of bone to protect vital organs… Like the lungs. For “lungs” they have gills instead, through which they breathe.

With the shark’s body made out of cartilages, there’s a large portion of cartilage that stretches up to the mouth and provides support to these gills.

The very end of this large chunk of cartilage is where the tongue is positioned. More precisely the tongue or “basihyal” of sharks or any fish is located at the base of the shark’s mouth.

This positioning is also the same with human tongues. And that’s where any similarities end between a human and shark tongue.

Human tongues are flexible, strong, and useful. A shark’s tongue is a short, small, stout, and only vaguely tongue-like piece of cartilage. 

do sharks have tongues
do sharks have tongues

Can sharks taste using their tongue?

It’s through their tongues that humans taste and so do many other animals, but surprisingly sharks do not have any taste buds in their tongues.

The taste buds of sharks are distributed around the inside of their mouth.

These taste buds are located under a special lining inside its mouth and throat. This lining is called the “Papillae”. So the tongue or the basihyal does not form part of the food tasting at all.

These taste buds are not highly sensitive, they only serve to let the shark know if the food is ok to edible enough to eat – sharks are not really considered fussy eaters! 

They swim throughout the day looking for food and pretty much eat whatever that’s edible. they don’t really “taste” the flesh of their prey, they just eat whatever that’s edible.

Illustration of shark mouth

By way of illustrating how a sharks mouth is laid out. Here’s a very basic drawing of a sharks mouth, indicating the floor of the lower jaw, with placement of the tongue (or basihyal), and taste buds, in relation to the teeth.

illustration of shark mouth
basic illustration of sharks mouth

Three sharks that use their tongues

Most sharks have tongues that are immovable and largely redundant. But there are some species of sharks that have tongues that serve a purpose. These are the carpet sharks, bullhead sharks, and cookie-cutter sharks

Carpet shark and bullhead shark tongues

Especially carpet sharks “orectoloboids” and bullhead sharks “heterodontoids” have different types of tongues than most other sharks.

They have tongues that are much larger, flattener, and more flexible and movable. this means that these sharks use can this tongue to suck on to prey in conjunction with using their powerful pharyngeal muscles

But before they fully consume their prey, they first partially swallow the victim and use the taste buds in the mouth to identify if the prey is edible enough to swallow or not.

Therefore, if the taste buds sense a familiar and edible taste, that means the prey is ok to be consumed, so the prey will then move down the through towards the stomach and be ingested.

Cookie-cutter shark tongue

Another type of shark that has a different type of tongue is the cookie-cutter sharkIsistius spp”.

They have tongues or basihyal that are much larger than the usual sharks and are attached and strengthened by strong rectus cervicis throat muscles. 

This structuring of the tongue means it’s attached to the throat muscles, rather than the floor of the mouth.

So this makes it easier for cookie-cutter sharks to suck “cookie-shaped” flesh bites out of their prey, mostly cetaceans, pinnipeds, pelagic fishes.

Cookie-cutter sharks rip their prey using their teeth opening the prey and then uses its basihyal to extract and suck the flesh and all the goodness.

The tongue for cookie-cutter sharks helps in use as an “oral vacuum” feeding strategy, which is sucking the flesh of the prey.

Sometimes humans bite their own tongue, it’s painful. So do sharks bite their own tongue? Let’s look at that next.

Do sharks bite their tongue?

With sharp and piercing teeth, it’s common to think sharks bite their tongue.

However, when it comes to sharks, a shark’s tongues perform or work just like humans. This means that sharks rarely bite their tongues. Here is a detailed explanation for you.

A shark’s tongue is mostly flat, immoveable, and largely secured to the floor of the mouth, but does have some flexibility.

The muscles are spread out and contain nerve endings called proprioceptors.

Proprioceptors continuously monitor and regulate muscle tension and position which send constant and necessary signals to the brainstem.

The brainstem is continuously informed of the position of the tongue. This allows the brainstem to fully coordinate what the tongue is doing, be it biting, chewing, and even the size of the food particles.

This proper coordination subconsciously avoids the tongue from being bitten.

A sharks sense of taste

Sharks do not have a highly developed sense of taste. Taste buds located in the mouth and throat lining only provide a yes or no confirmation of whether food is edible or not. There is no taste sensation associated with the taste buds. For them, it’s yes, ingest it, or no, don’t ingest it.

Can sharks stick their tongue out?

Sharks cannot stick their tongue out. For most sharks, the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth, it’s made of cartilage, moves very little, and performs a limited function. They do not have a membrane under the tongue like humans do, and which allows us to have movement of the tongue.

More nature info…

I hope this has helped answer the question – do sharks have tongues. Perhaps you could outswim a shark? But can you outrun a moose? And there’s lots more to explore on rangerplanet, so check out my other articles.

What Do Moose Eat? Moose Diet by Season and Location


You might be wondering this as you see a moose along the side of the road or when hiking. Moose are commonly known as the largest animal in the deer family. They are indeed majestic animals. And they need to eat a lot of food for their size and weight. But exactly what do moose eat?

This article will give a clear understanding of what moose eat. Their eating patterns through the seasons. Plus how much they eat. And, how they maintain their large size through their diet and through the year. Let’s start with a summary…

Moose are herbivores that feed on plants. In spring they eat spring blooms, grass, and shrubs. In summer, they include more grass, vegetables, and aquatic plants. During winter they feed on Willow. During severe cold, they eat tree bark. In general, Moose prefer rare plants over common ones.

Eating patterns of animals is always exciting. And eating patterns and behaviors are probably more exciting when it comes to larger animals like moose.

Moose can grow up to 7 feet tall, taller than most horses. So you really do not want to get in their way or provoke them.

And for large animals like these, what they eat to keep up their large size and remain healthy is important. So their diet can – and does change.

And like most animals, a moose diet must include certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, wherever they’re available. Which is largely determined by their location and the season.

Moose are herbivores – they eat plant matter

Moose is an herbivore, which means their diet consists of plants and all things green.

But because they are huge, where an adult male can weigh up to 1,300 pounds, it requires a lot of vegetation to fulfill the required daily, weekly, and annual diet of a moose.

On average, a moose eats about forty pounds of vegetation per day. But this can be up to around 70 pounds per day. This is what they need to attain the required 10,000 calories they need daily.

However, when it comes to their food patterns, despite their need to consume a large volume, they are more discerning and selective than you might think. More particularly in certain seasons when the availability of preferred plant matter is more abundant.

moose in the wild
a moose raoming in the wild

What moose eat in line with the seasons

The best way to look at this is to track the moose diet through the seasons. Because the season in which you see them eating will be part of a larger eating annual cycle.

Let’s start in Spring…

What moose eat in Spring

In spring, moose that have made it through the winter months using up their stored fat reserves. They’re keen to increase their weight once more.

Mostly, they will seek out tall grasses, blossoms, and fruits. Moose are also commonly found feeding on agricultural produce.

During spring in the northeastern United States, they’ve been known to feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, from watermelons to brussels sprouts.

The abundance in growth that Spring brings, provides moose with much-needed nutrition. It’s their best opportunity to restock on important nutrients prior to next winter when greenery once again becomes scarce.

By May, moose have returned to areas such as the old crow flats in Canada, near the Alaskan border to undertake much of this feeding.

What moose eat in Summer

In summer, in these more northern locations, Moose eat an abundance of grasses. But will also be found later in summer in marshes and lakes – feeding on aquatic plant matter such as marsh reeds and duckweed.

They still mainly eat grass, however, because the wide abundance of tall grasses allows them to feed on an almost constant basis.

Summer, like Spring, is a time for over-eating. Like many animals, they will have recouped any lost weight by this point but will continue to store fat reserves. They will continue to gain more weight in preparation for late fall and winter and for the mating season which occurs from September through October.

In mid to late Summer, moose gravitate towards feeding more on aquatic plants.

This is an opportunity to regain and refill the much-needed sodium and mineral requirements that they lost during the winter.

What moose eat in Fall

In the fall their diet heavily depends on the weather, the place, or territory they remain in – or even move to. As moose do migrate during this time in preparation for the onset of winter, as evidenced during a major tracking project.

Moose move to where food is generally more abundant, migrating generally further south, around the Canada and US border. this means often finding and feeding on whatever grasses they can locate, or even available trees.

What moose eat in Winter

When it snows the moose come on the roads to eat off the salty/gravel that get’s sprayed on the roads
“When it snows the moose come on the roads to eat off the salty gravel that get’s sprayed on the roads” (Photo by Ivars Krutainis)

If living through the harsh winter, however, they prefer to feed more on willow, as it’s a tree that is packed heavily with necessary proteins.

They also like other trees such as trembling aspen and black poplar. With red osier being a particular favorite.

If and when the winter season becomes severe, and when grass and greeneries dry up altogether, they may resort to eating the bark right from the tree.

Moose will routinely strip the bark off of standing trees, as well as fallen and decaying trees that may be as much as three years old.

Of course, these are not necessarily part of a nutritional diet, but more to fill their stomach to help survive through the season. And who knows what other animal proteins they might also unintentionally consume while eating bark.

Having said that, moose are strictly herbivores, and that brings us to the question, how can moose maintain their huge size with only vegetation for sustenance.

Moose food patterns and their size

As moose are very large creatures, it’s natural to understand they need a heavy diet and high nutrition intake to keep healthy and to keep them fueled.

But because they are herbivores, vegetation and greenery alone may not provide moose with the required nutrition they need, and that meat could provide.

Because of the complexities that moose have with their diet and size, they tend to be very choosy about their habitat and territories.

Moose usually frequent a territory that has greater access to nutritional plants.

Places like recently burnt down forests after a fire are chosen as an ideal place for moose to set up territories and it’s easy to find moose establishing themselves in such places.

Forests recently destroyed by fire are more likely to have fresh and young blooms that are highly nutritional.

Moose also prefer to establish territories near waterways such as the crows, which can give them good access to aquatic plants – which are again high in nutritional values.

Using these locational techniques allows a moose to feed on sufficient nutrients to maintain its size.

This nutritional feeding pattern …supported by well-chosen territories, directly affects producing healthy offspring.

Keep reading on, but If you’ve learnt something so far then why not share or pinterest this, see below…

Seasonal calendar of what food Moose eat

Moose seek out nutritionally high food

In their quest for nutritionally valuable food. Moose eat a wide variety of plants, fruits, and seeds.

But the majority of their diet consists of flowering plants, fresh shoots from growing trees, and of course other available aquatic vegetation.

Moose can easily devour an entire branch of leaves, dandelions in large quantities pulled directly from the ground, and even roots.

But finding sufficient foliage depends largely on the geographical locations they establish their territories within.

Moose diet preferences 

Although Moose literally can and do eat most vegetation and greenery. They can be choosy when it comes to dining preferences. For trees, they are often happiest when eating willow, aspen, and balsam fir

Moose can be more discerning in their taste when there are plenty of choices available – and of course depending on the geographical location.

It’s believed that moose prefer very rare plants over those that are often available. When more rare plants are available, moose often turn their nose up on common plants, in search of the rarer tastes.

Over time, the risk of predation, hunting, and changing weather patterns has forced moose to adapt, and often times this means feeding on whatever is available.

Downsides To What Moose Chooses To Eat

Not all the food choices of a moose might be considered good choices.

In difficult times, any old bark they find and eat may not always be healthy. Moose also heavily feed on aquatic plants.

There are downsides that come along with eating aquatic plant matter for moose. As we know moose are herbivores and don’t eat meat. Sadly, when moose feed on aquatic plants in the water, they can accidentally eat snails.

Snails can carry a deadly parasite that’s called a brain worm.

Larvae that are present in the snail can migrate to the Moose’s brain causing neurological damage. In many cases, the neurological damage caused leads to death.

More moose!

I hope this has helped answer the question of what do moose eat. The next question I might ask is, can you tell the difference between an Elk and a Moose. Be sure to read our other informative articles on rangerplanet.com.

Do Mallard Ducks Mate for Life: What Happens, and Timeline


Ducks are those wonderful local birds that you often see in pairs around the river bank. When in pairs they can seem like a real couple for life. But is that the case? And in the case of Mallard ducks, do Mallard ducks mate for life?

This subject certainly has its twists and turns, so let’s start with a summary to give you a quick summary.

Mallard ducks do not mate for life – known as forming long-term pair bonds. They commit to the female during the mating season, known as a seasonal bond. This occurs between fall and spring. Males leave after the female lays eggs, and the female alone takes care of the young.

Of the many facets that animals possess, one thing that many wonder about is whether true love or a mate for life exists in the animal kingdom.

There are some, but among many of the animals that have been put into this potential area, one such animal – or more specifically a bird – revolves around mallard ducks.

A mallard male duck abandons the female during incubation

Mallard ducks do not mate for life – rather they mate and remain together only until the female lays her eggs.

At this point, the male mallard duck abandons the female leaving her to incubate the eggs on her own. The male leaves the female and searches for a secluded and food-rich spot. 

Once finding his ideal place, the male mallard will then relax through the period in which he undergoes his seasonal molt.

The female duck incubation period

The incubation period for a female duck lasts for around 27 to 38 days.

During this period the female will build a nest by the water using her breast feathers and twigs – alone. When the ducklings hatch they are taken to the water relatively quickly – for safety purposes.

The ducklings remain with and follow their mother for about 50 to 60 days. They stay with their mothers until they develop their ability to fly.

Other than these the ducklings are precocial. This means that these tiny ducklings know how to swim and feed just after they are born.

All caring for offspring is done by the female duck alone and the father or the male mallard duck has no involvement. 

Mallard ducks do not mate for life

Mallard ducks do not mate for life. Indicated by the fact that they only remain together until the female lays her eggs. Mallard ducks will then find a place to begin a period of molting. They do not form an everlasting love or mating for life with the female.

After a mating season with a pair, the ducks do not stay together or come together for the next season. In fact, they may never meet again at all. They change their mating pairs prior to every mating season. 

Both the male and the female will likely find a new pair during the next fall. 

In fact, hybrid breeds among mallard ducks are so common now that they are giving rise to the American black duck and northern pintail.

So the obvious question now is, what makes many of us think mallard ducks mate for life. 

Mallard ducks are deeply affectionate towards their mate

The reason why many believe that mallard ducks mate for life is how they appear to remain affectionate, connected, and committed to their female during the period they stay together (mating season).

This connection the pair has during the time they remain together or the mating season makes it quite hard to believe that they aren’t soul mates for life!

The devotion of the mallard duck

A male mallard duck is even unlikely to leave the side of a dead female duck. And have been known to remain by the side of the female duck even when there are potential dangers nearby.

This behavior could be interpreted simply as the male duck instinctively caring for his investment in the breeding process.

But many experts believe that the ducks stay committed to the pair during the nesting breeding or mating season as support for the female.

Real world example

Domestic ducks may behave differently, because food is almost always available, and the ducks are reared and not always left to their own devices.

In the wild we see the true nature of what happens. This is what I saw when I tracked progress on a pair of mating Mallard ducks.

The pictured below show the ducks that regularly visited me, I suspect mostly because I brought food!

female mallard hen with male mallard drake

Pairing and Breeding

I watched the progress of a pair of breeding ducks and saw as the male always allowed the female to feed first before he then takes food.

The male duck was also constantly wary of their surroundings, waiting to chase off would-be interlopers or moments where they should escape threats. And he would follow his mate around wherever she chose to go.

Laying and incubation

This mating period continued for some 5 or 6 weeks. Then for some time, I saw the mallard duck alone – with no female in sight.

female duck with 3 ducklings

Nurturing

The next day, I spotted the female with 3 ducklings. She even swam toward me as if to “show” me her new brood. It seemed the mating season for them was complete – and I was glad to have seen the whole process unfold.

Both the male and the female still visit, but I’ve even noticed that the Drake will now chase the female and her ducklings away in order to keep any food for himself. Nature can be harsh.

So, all these expressions of seemingly true love do not negate the fact that mallard ducks are, after all, animals, that come together to fulfill an instinctive purpose.

As romantic and endearing as this side appears to be from mallard ducks, there are pretty unruly mating patterns that clearly show mallard ducks are polygamous.

Mallard ducks and their mating patterns

Pairing up with a female mallard duck is not that easy!

The females have high standards, and so it almost takes a lot for male mallard ducks to win a pairing.

The male mallard duck is expected to have the most colorful plumage, along with beautiful mating calls and rituals.

This means that in order for a male mallard duck to pair up with a female, he needs to have beauty along with singing and dancing skills.

And unfortunately, males often don’t measure up with the female’s expectations. 

So this makes mallard ducks engage in socially organized gang rapes that are violent, aggressive, and harsh.

This gang sometimes leaves the female dead. Such is the mating patterns of mallard ducks and it certainly does not give the impression of a mate for life.

Specially developed reproductive organs

Males have to develop their reproductive organs in a way that would allow them to force their way into an unwilling female mallard duck’s reproductive organ.

And by contrast, the females have also evolved their reproductive organs more as a counter-defense measure against these rapes.

Females have developed sharp turns in their reproductive organs. This acts like teeth that make it difficult for a male mallard to inseminate during forced or unwilling copulations.

This helps the female ducks in naturally preventing the male ducks from fertilizing their eggs by force.

These gang rapes by mallard male ducks are sadly among different species of birds and not just the mallard females.

Depending on their selection by female ducks, the mallard ducks may stay affectionate, loyal, and committed to their pair only during the mating season.

And when failing to find or attract a female duck, they will not hesitate into forceful copulation even with other species of birds.

Let’s fill in some of the other possible gaps in your duck mating and duck parenting behavior knowledge by answering some further related mallard duck mating and caring questions.

Here’s an image that summarizes the timeline and progress of the duck mating cycle.

infographic depicting the duck mating cycle
duck mating cycle

What is a female mallard duck called

The Mallard species of duck applies to both the male and female. The male is typically also called a Drake, and the female is referred to as a Hen, or simply known as a Duck. They are often also called Wild ducks.

How many ducklings are in a brood

Typically, female mallard ducks have up to 12 ducklings in a single brood. Numbers are higher to account for losses due to natural causes and predation. Often, at least 2 will survive until of fledging age. Fledging occurs once the ducklings can fly. They will then leave.

Do male ducks stay with ducklings?

Once the female begins incubation, or shortly after the ducklings hatch, most male ducks abandon the female to find a location for his seasonal molt. Male ducks play almost no role in caring for the brood.

bandon might seem like a strong term, but they do literally just leave, no warning or farewells. So it seems like abandon is the right term to use.

But this doesn’t mean the female is ill prepared for the scenario. They know and expect that this will happen and are well equiped to deal with it. It’s just natural.

How long do baby mallards stay with their mother?

Baby mallard ducks, at this stage called ducklings, will remain with their mother for up to 60 days, or two months. The defining point of leaving is when they full develop the ability to fly. At that point, they are no longer baby mallards, they are adult ducks.

How long do duck families stay together?

Ducks remain a complete family very briefly. Usually, once the ducklings hatch the male will depart, often they will leave before hatching begins. So the period of being a complete duck family is brief, possibly just a few hours if not minutes.

To finish…

I hope this has helped answer the question do mallard ducks mate for life. We’re all about nature here, so be sure to check out other articles. About ducks eating fish, as well as other nature-related topics.

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