KidZone Animals
Moose: Antlers

moose antlers
Photographed by Fisherga;
used with permission under CC BY 2.0

Male moose grow large, shovel shaped antlers with pointed ends each year. These antlers can weigh as much as 30 kg. Bulls in their prime (about 10 years) may have antlers that grow to be an incredible 1.8m wide!

A rough velvet covers the antlers while they grow each year. This fur contains the blood supply that helps the antlers grow through out the year. Near the end of the year when the fur begins to dry up, the bull moose rub their antlers against trees and other hard objects to scratch off the velvet.

Their antlers begin to grow in spring and at the beginning of each winter the moose shed their antlers. Moose use their antlers during mating displays and, to a lesser extent, for defense from predators.

moose antlers
Photographed by deckhand;
used with permission under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you find a shedded moose antler in the wild you aren't supposed to touch it. By touching it you take away the calcium on the antler, which many smaller animals depend on for nutritients.