11 Fun Moose Facts

In honor of yesterday’s post, here are a few fun facts about Moose.

Here's Teddy Roosevelt, riding a bull moose. Incidently, after his initial time in the White House, TR ran for another presidential term in the Bull Moose Party.

Here’s Teddy Roosevelt, riding a bull moose. Incidently, after his initial time in the White House, TR ran for another presidential term in the Bull Moose Party.

11 Fun Moose Facts

  1. Moose are the largest members of the deer family.
  2. Male moose, or bulls, have huge antlers that they shed each winter, which are different from deer antlers in their shape. The antlers help channel sound to a moose’s ears.
  3. The word “moose” comes from an Native American word that means “twig eater.”
  4. In spite of their spindly legs, moose are very good swimmers and they can swim about 6 mph.
  5. They can close their nostrils and submerge under the water for 30 seconds or more.
  6. That flap of skin hanging from a moose’s throat is called a bell. Scientists aren’t completely sure what it’s purpose is, but they think it helps males attract females.
  7. Moose  can run up to 35 miles an hour over short distances, and trot steadily at 20 miles an hour.
  8. If a bull moose is castrated, he will shed his current set of antlers and grow new, deformed and misshapen antlers which will never be shed again. These antlers are often called “devil’s antlers” and are the source of several Native American myths. In rare cases, cow moose may grow antlers due to a hormone imbalance.
  9. Thomas Jefferson once requested that a dead moose be delivered to France to prove that animals from the USA were more impressive than European animals.
  10. The plural of moose is moose.
  11. In Europe, the moose is known as an elk, which is North America is a completely different animal.

Thanks for reading!

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11 Fun Raccoon Facts

In order to know my new neighbor a bit better (before he gets evicted), I decided to learn something about raccoons. Here are the fruits of my labors.

Photo by Tobias Mercer.

Photo by Tobias Mercer.

11 Fun Raccoon Facts

  1. The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon lotor, means “washer dog” although it is a closer relative to the bear family.
  2. Raccoons have a large array of vocalizations. Scientists have determined that they can make over 51 different sounds! They purr, whistle, growl, hiss, scream and even whinny.
  3. Raccoons have been kept as pets (President Coolidge and his wife had one named Rebecca), and while young, seem happy to be in human company. As they mature, especially during mating season, they can become increasingly destructive and aggressive.
  4. A raccoon’s hands are so nimble they can unlace a shoe, unlatch a cage and deftly retrieve coins as thin as dimes from your shirt pocket.
  5. In spring, female raccoons give birth to three or four young. The baby raccoon’s eyes do not open until 20 days or so after birth. It won’t have rings on its tail, or a mask around its eyes, until it’s older. Baby raccoons stay in the den for eight to ten weeks. The mother raccoon is very protective of her babies—she won’t even let the father near them.
  6. On the mammal IQ scale raccoons rank higher than cats and just below monkeys.
  7. Christopher Columbus is the first individual we know of to have written about the species.
  8. The raccoon has the ability to rotate their hind feet a full 180 degrees to allow for their ability to climb down from trees head first.
  9. The word raccoon, derived from the Algonquin Indian word “arakun” means “he scratches with hands”.
  10. Raccoons are more likely to be killed by an automobile than by another predator.
  11. A raccoon can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

Thanks for reading!