Moose, Elk, and deer shed antlers before winter comes every single year. Yes, every winter they get rid of those antlers and then regrow them again in the spring.
I am no deer expert, but I am very familiar with the image of a male deer with large antlers. That is kind of the romanticized version of deer and their relatives too, such as elk, and moose. Well, those males put a lot of energy and effort into growing and having those antlers. Then in the late fall or early winter they get rid of them. Losing those antlers must feel so nice (moose antlers can weigh up to 60 pounds!).
Why Do Deer, Moose, and Elk Have Antlers In The First Place?
One of the main reasons that the males grow those big antlers is to help them win the chance to mate with females. Once they have mated (which happens in the fall during the rut) they no longer need those big antlers.
Deer Shed Antlers Before Winter Comes
Deer and other members of the deer family are the big mammals that grow and shed new antlers every year.
Sheep, goats and cattle grow their horns and keep them all of the time. Their horns are made of bone and are attached to their skulls.
In contrast to this, deer, elk, and moose grow new antlers every single year. After they have used them during the rut to show off to the females, and hopefully mate, they serve no purpose. Antlers aren’t used as a weapon or for defense, which means they don’t need them after the breeding season.
Therefore, after the rut moose, elk, and deer shed antlers and then are ready for winter. Some of the animals will shed their antlers in late fall and others keep them into winter before losing them.
Check out this cool video that shows a Moose getting rid of one of it’s antlers. It’s short and worth watching till about just past the half way point when the Moose shakes its head and one antler falls off.
The post Moose, Elk, And Deer Shed Antlers In Late Fall Or Winter appeared first on Jake’s Nature Blog.