Moose stroll Scarth Dr.

Moose in Virden? According to news reports it’s rare, but not unheard of. A big thanks goes to Carla Barkley for this timely photo.

As towns and cities quieted last year under COVID shut downs record numbers of wild life came to visit and while no one can say for sure why this pair came to visit in Virden, they must have had a reason.

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Last April, the Montreal publication TimeOut, chronicled wildlife in urban settings, including moose photographed in “Canada's capital city Ottawa, Ontario.” A close look at the photo showed gaunt looking animals.

It appears these Virden visitors had the road to themselves and according to wildlife experts, that’s a good thing.

All the way across the continent, an Idaho government press release warns: Refrain from approaching or feeding moose to keep you and your neighbors safe. Moose are not normally aggressive, but they are unpredictable. A docile-looking moose browsing on shrubs one minute can quickly charge or kick if it perceives a threat to itself or offspring. Mother cows with calves in particular require extra space and caution.

The Scarth moose look like a pair, a cow and last year’s calf. After the bitter cold we have just come through with temperatures down in the minus 50s, accounting for wind chill, these animals are probably looking for a good dinner. Hinterland.ca says: “A large adult moose eats from 15 to 20 kg, green weight, of twigs each day in winter, and in summer eats from 25 to 30 kg of forage—twigs, leaves, shrubs, upland plants, and water plants.”

Wildlife experts advise that although moose appear calm and collected, like all wildlife, they need their space – they need an exit strategy.

Keep your dog inside. A moose will sometimes go out of its way to kick at a barking dog because it is annoying it, causing it stress or distracting it from making an easy exit from your yard. The moose may be extra defensive because dogs resemble wolves, moose's main predator.

While the moose may be hungry, there’s several reasons NOT to feed them. Moose in town are a big hazard. In poor light they are difficult to see and it would be tragic for the vehicle, its owner and for the moose if there was a collision.

Also, although it’s tempting to provide a few carrots, hay, or corn feed for a town moose, it’s not what they need according to naturalists. And, the reasons behind this can include smaller ruminants like deer.

They become accustomed to people and expect treats. A food-conditioned animal can be aggressive if it doesn’t receive the treat it’s expecting.

Also, the browse that moose and deer feed on in the winter is the best food for them, producing more heat than fine hay, because of their unique digestive process in their rumen.

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