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Difference Between Moose and Elk

Moose vs Elk

Being part of the same deer family, it is difficult for most people to identify an elk from a typical moose. And because the moose is the largest division and the more popular specie of the two, some may not be aware of the existence of the elk. On top of which, the names of these animals also differ in some countries. For example, Alces alces (the moose) as people call it in Northern America, is oddly referred to as an elk in some European countries particularly in Sweden. In addition, while being considered by Americans as Cervus canadensis (the elk), Europeans call this deer the wapiti.

In terms of its general physical characteristics, however, the moose is larger than elks. It also has bigger palmate antlers (among males). Moreover, the moose appears to have a bulbous nose (more pronounced in males) while being an absent feature among elks.

But some experts discern the two types of deer by virtue of the difference in their tracks. The deer hunters make use of this information to initiate a more effective hunting activity as both are much sought after for their meat and antlers. According to these hunters, the elk usually leaves a print four inches long and three inches wide. On the other hand, the moose has the bigger footprint. They say the moose print can be one to three inches longer than that of the bull elk.
The two deer also differ in the shape of their hoofs The hoof tip belonging to the elk is somewhat blunted as opposed to the moose having a pointier hoof tip. The blunt hoofs among elks are designed for them to travel longer distances while their counterpart doesn’t require such as the moose has a different migratory pattern giving them pointier hoofs.

Because of the bigger body size among the typical moose, their tracks sink deeper into the soil. The lighter legs and slightly smaller build of the elk leaves shallower marks on the ground. This depends, of course, on the type of ground (hard or soft).

The moose also differs from most elks in terms of traveling characteristics. Most or all moose prefer to travel alone or in small numbers (rare). When they travel in pairs or more, they are usually walking with their young. Elks generally pack in herds. This is one of the easiest techniques in differentiating the two.


1.Moose are the largest and the more popular members of the deer family. The elk only places second.
2.Elks have smaller footprints compared to the moose.
3.Elks have blunt hoof tips while moose have pointier ones.
4.Elks leave shallower tracks as opposed to the moose’s deeper track marks.
5.Elks travel in herds while moose are more solitary.

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