Thinking you might need to outrun a moose? So you’ll need to know how fast a moose can run!
This of course largely depends also on how fast you can run. In this article, we’ll answer the question of how fast can a moose run, what affects it’s speed, as well as knowing when it will run at you and what to do.
How fast can a moose run? An average moose can run 22mph (35 km). A full-grown mature moose can run up to 35mph, (60 km). Calves start running at two weeks old. Besides running, they can also trot for 30 minutes and jump 8-10 feet high. They are also great swimmers who can swim up to 10 miles per hour.
You may not know this, but at these speeds, moose are renowned as being pretty fast animals. With female moose weighing in at 800 to 1,300 pounds and the male moose weighing 1200 to 1600 pounds, a moose attack can be quite a devastating event.
Apart from this, moose also tend to cause other damage to back yards, farms, and crops with and without its running abilities.
How fast can a moose run?
Moose, in general, can run fast. But different factors affect how fast this animal can run. From its age and stage of life to terrain and other factors.
On clear ground, an uninjured, average aged, and average-sized moose can run up to 22mph (35km). Some also believe that a moose can run up to 37 miles per hour when needed.
Besides running, a moose can trot steadily at 19mph (30km), which is also pretty fast even for a casual trot.
Why are moose fast runners?
The ability for moose to run fast is naturally determined by their size and the length of their gait. Moose have long legs and its front legs are longer than its rear legs.
This also helps moose run quite fast across more tricky terrain. This is because its long legs help perfectly in jumping over any obstacles when running – such as fallen trees and rocks.
It’s also important to mention that although a moose can run faster than humans, it actually has poor eyesight – so it would need to see you in the first place.
But despite this weakness, the moose has amazing senses that warn it in advance, those being its sense of smell and hearing, as soon as it senses danger it will be off.
When it comes to the terrain these animals run on, they’re very accustomed to uneven and mountainous regions, their ability to jump adeptly is well adapted to most types of uneven terrain.
Like deer who are also renowned for their jumping ability, many have reported seeing of moose leaping six-foot fences to get into home gardens and even farms.
You ideally need eight-foot fencing to provide the best option for keeping moose out of your property – but even that has been jumped by all accounts – assuming they don’t just walk right through it anyway.
Because of their ability to turn quickly, as well as jump high and long, they don’t need to be choosy about what terrain they run on.
It won’t dramatically slow them down if the ground is wet or dry either. Running on wet ground is not uncommon in mountains and hillsides. This also brings us to the point that these animals are excellent swimmers. A moose can swim up to 10 miles per hour.
Moose speed is all relative
We’re talking averages here. So here’s a quick look at the factors that can affect moose speed.
A moose can’t run just after they’re born. Most young moose depend on their mother for protection because they can neither run away nor protect themselves well enough at this stage.
This also serves to slow the mother down in a chase, she would be very reluctant to leave her young behind to make the chase worth the risk.
However, these calves can run at an average speed and swim well after two weeks of birth.
As with most things in nature, as you get older you get slower. So for an older moose, you can expect this speed to be reduced – but even at half speed, that’s still likely to be around the speed of a human.
You could also argue that what they lose in speed they gain in experience, so don’t underestimate running from a senior moose either – they may well know the area better than you!
In many areas of the animal kingdom, size matters. The smaller the moose, the shorter the legs, and therefore the lower the speed. But they could still catch your average human!
An injured moose would naturally find it difficult to run …regardless of where the injury is, but this would, of course, inhibit running more if they carry an injury on one or more legs, you might want to hope this is the case.
As previously mentioned, the terrain can play a part, not in their ability to run, but it would likely affect speed. Even if this halved, that would still be around the speed the average human can run.
If the weather is fairly mild, don’t expect a moose to slow down by much. But if the weather is harsh, then yes, you can expect a drop in speed. But the same is likely to apply to you.
Here’s where you might gain an advantage on how fast a moose can run. Their eyesight is not as good as human eyesight, so in low visibility such as fog you may have a chance – providing a safe place is not far away. Keep in mind that their hearing and smell will win out if you try and hide!
Time of year
Moose attacks are at their highest during rearing season – following the mating season. Mothers can be highly protective of their new young around September and October. Avoid approaching moose during these periods most of all.
Type of encounter
Shouting and waving sticks near a moose is likely to get you chased. So remaining respectful and avoiding them is the best option, and be sure to keep your dog on a leash or there may be trouble.
Regularly providing food for a moose could only serve to anger it if the food stops. It’s better not to feed them at all.
In fact, the problem of feeding moose grew to such a size that feeding moose in Alaska is now a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $10k fine.
Eight signs a moose may chase or attack
Here are eight signs that a moose may chase you, or attack you.
- The moose stops and stares at you
- The hairs on its neck, hips and/or its hump will raise up
- Its ears may lay flat back
- The moose licks it’s lips and bares or clicks its teeth
- The moose may urinate
- Lowers its horns, and head and may begin walking toward you
- Eyes will widen and remain fixed on you
- Flips back it’s head once or more
Moose-related injuries in Alaska are almost always on the highway. It’s thought there are around 500 accidents per year, but your chances of being in a fatal accident with a moose are less than half a percent.
So just drive carefully in moose territory, keep a safe distance, and wait for them to move out of your path. Often there are warning signs in place to alert you beforehand.
Do moose chase humans?
Finally, this might sound like a whole article dedicated to running away from moose and may give the impression they’re a real threat.
Fair to say that moose do no fear humans, but at the same time they do not generally see them as a threat that needs chasing down, and they’re unlikely to chase you far if you’re running away.
Most of the time they will ignore humans who are at a safe distance and just carry on with their day.
It’s only in situations where you stumble into close proximity of a moose, and they feel threatened – especially when caring for their young – that you’re likely to get into any difficulties.
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We hope this has been useful in understanding more about moose, escaping from moose and how fast can a moose run.
Ultimately, if you’re chased by a moose, then seek robust shelter from trees, thick undergrowth, a car, or building as quickly as possible. Or if not, then at least make sure you can run faster than the guy next to you!
This content has been checked and verified by a qualified veterinary practitioner. The article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.