Moaning Moose

Female moose from Alaska go for the big guy. The bigger and tougher the better in that wild part of the world and, in turn, the big guy keeps his girls together and defends them from other ‘big guys’.  Of course, thing aren’t all that simple as he has to take time out to eat and dream like guys everywhere. Other moose will come calling and hang around in a purely conversational way, but will then take liberties if he is off tending to important matters elsewhere.

As we all know, it takes two to tango. The females in the harem can get very sniffy about whose going to be the father of their youngsters. Many other species have females who are much more willing than moose to have the odd fling and keep the gene pool wide.

With the Alaskan moose, Bowyer et al have picked up on their behavior and reported on it in the current issue of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The found that if another male comes courting them, the females moan loudly in protest. The effect of a moaning female is that the males start to fight, egged on by the moaning protests at the liberty that was suggested.

If the females stop moaning, the guys settled down and there was much less fighting going on. Hence, a lot of moaning got the guys on edge and started fights, but the females moaned a lot more if the lothario was a small guy than if he was a big guy. The bigger he was the less moaning went on about the whole tedious business. I guess they were less offended and would possible wander off with him, if he were big enough. There would be no protesting and moaning about headaches then.


Leave a Reply