The Differences Between A Moose And A Horse: The Ultimate Guide

Let’s be honest – nobody is struggling to tell the difference between a moose and a horse. They look vastly different to one another – from the antlers (or lack thereof) to the shapes of their heads. Not to mention the types of noises they make and how domesticated they are. 

If you’ve clicked on this article, odds are you’re wanting a clear guide that labels and details the differences between the animals in terms of their size, weight, and speed.

You might be arguing with your friends over whether a moose or horse would win in a fight against one another. You might simply be curious as to what really sets the two species apart aside from their physical differences.

Whatever your reason for clicking this guide, we’ve got you covered. It’s important to know the comparisons between species to better understand the species as a whole, which is why we have made the ultimate guide about the differences between a moose and a horse – including their speed, weight, height, temperament, and more. 

What Is A Moose?

A moose (also known as an elk in Europe) is the largest member of the deer family (Cervidae). These large animals are characterized by their huge open-hand shaped antlers and bulbous proboscis (nose area) that is helpful for finding and eating terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. 

Moose are most commonly found in Canada, New England, Poland, Russia, the Baltic States, Alaska, Finland, Sweden, Michigan, Upstate New York, Washington, and Oregon. This species mostly inhabits coniferous and mixed forests in both temperate and subarctic climates.

They have been forced to adapt to a range of temperatures and environments due to habitat destruction and hunting – though they cannot withstand hot temperatures, which is why they wade in ponds and lakes during summer. 

Aside from humans, the other main predators to a moose include bears and wolves. This is why they spend most of their time hidden amongst shrubs, low trees, and areas of dense foliage. As for their diet, a moose will eat a range of terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, from bark and leaves to pondweed and water lilies. 

What Is A Horse?

A horse is a domesticated animal that has been used by humans for work and entertainment purposes for centuries – with domestication starting around 4000 BC. Wild horses still exist, but they are not to be mistaken for feral horses, which are horses that failed to be domesticated.

Horses are separated into three categories: “hot bloods” (horses with speed and endurance), “cold bloods” (ponies and draft horses), and “warmbloods” (a cross between hot bloods and cold bloods for specific riding purposes). 

Horses are an all-rounder animal – they excel in speed, obedience, endurance, and work ethic. They have been used by humans for a multitude of reasons, including competitive riding, police work, agriculture, and even as a therapy animal. In some countries, horses are also used for their meat. 

Wild horses are widely distributed across North America, parts of Asia, Europe, and Russia. They mostly reside on open grasslands and their main predators are wolves, cougars, and humans. 

Which Is Faster: A Moose Or A Horse? 

To put it simply, a horse is faster than a moose. This is because a horse can run up to speeds of 88 kilometers in full gallop, compared to a moose who can only run up to 56 kilometers per hour at a push. The moose is still a fast animal, but it’s got nothing compared to the speed of a horse. 

There is no clear answer for why a horse can outrun a moose, but it is assumed that this is because of the size difference between the species. A moose is larger than a horse, which is probably why it is slower. 

Which Is Bigger: A Moose Or A Horse?

Speaking of size, there’s a reason why the moose is the largest member of the deer family. The total length of a moose (head and body) is between 7’10” – 10.50”, whereas the average length of a horse is around 8” long. 

In terms of their body, the moose has a bulkier build than the horse. The reasons for this are unclear, but it’s most likely because of their chosen climates that require a larger mass of fat to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. Horses are generally leaner than a moose, which could be a result of their agility and speed. 

Which Is Taller: A Moose Or A Horse?

A moose is taller than a horse. The average height of a moose is between 4’7” – 6’11”, while the average height of a horse is between 1’5” – 7’3” – though the tallest horses are far rarer than tall moose. 

You’ve also got to remember that moose have the additional giant antlers that give them more height than a horse. Some antlers are said to grow up to 6 feet in length! Because of their height, the moose is said to be the latest mammal in North America.

Which Is Heavier: A Moose Or A Horse?

While it is safe to assume that a moose weighs far more than a horse, this is actually untrue. Despite the fact that a moose is taller than a horse (and certainly appears bigger than a horse), they will only range between 500-700 kg depending on their sex.

A horse, however, is almost always at least 500-1000 kg, making them the heavier animal on average compared to a moose. The reason why a horse is faster than a moose despite their heavier weight is largely unknown!

Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Moose And A Horse?

Of course, nobody wants to see two animals fighting each other. But hypothetically speaking, who would win in a fight between a moose and a horse?

Let’s talk about the fighting abilities of both species. Moose are strong and powerful creatures that have the additional advantage of their huge antlers, which can cause a multitude of injuries for any animal or human who gets too close.

They will use their antlers to fight against other moose, particularly if it’s two males (or bulls) fighting for dominance.

A horse, however, is faster and has a stronger kick than a moose. Horses are known for rearing, where they stand on their hind legs to kick with their front legs, as well as bucking, where they stand on their front legs and kick their hind legs.

Anyone who has ever owned a horse will also know that they have an incredibly powerful bite, which is another weapon they use when fighting another horse for dominance. 

So, if we take these fighting abilities into account, it’s quite hard to say which animal would win in a fight. It’s not common for a moose and a horse to come into contact with each other, let alone fight one another, after all. 

It mostly comes down to the environment of the fight. If the fight is held in an open grassland or meadow, it is safe to assume that the horse will win the fight as it’s the environment they are most comfortable in.

However, if the fight is held in a dense forest, the moose is probably more likely to win. 

Also, if the fight is against a moose and a wild horse, the fight is probably more likely to be even compared to a fight between a moose and a domesticated horse.

This is because, while domesticated horses will always remain wild at heart, they are less prone to fighting other wild animals compared to their wild counterparts, who frequently have to fight for dominance. 

Appearance Differences Between A Moose And A Horse

The only similarities between a moose and a horse is that they are both four-legged mammals, and that’s about it. 

A moose has significantly longer front legs than hind legs (which could contribute to why they aren’t as fast as horses), huge shoulders, long faces with big noses, short necks, cloven hooves (where the hooves are split into two toes), and large ears that are similar to a deer’s ears.

Their coats are generally quite thick to preserve their body temperature in cold climates, and usually come in varying shades of brown. The most distinctive feature of a moose is, of course, their huge palmate antlers. 

Horses have long and slender legs, a generally lean physique, long tails, long and thick necks, elongated faces, smaller ears, manes, oval-shaped hooves, and a significant “dip” in their torso.

A horse can come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, white, chestnut, bay, brown, piebald, and more. 

Moose VS Horse Behavior 

Horses have been domesticated for centuries, which is why their temperament is generally friendly and tolerant of humans and other animals.

Domesticated horses are gentle, non-aggressive, intelligent, often cheeky, and playful. Wild horses are slightly more shy around humans and exhibit far more wild behaviors than domesticated horses. 

Like a wild horse, a moose is shy and unpredictable around humans. This is because they have established their position in their food chain and environmental hierarchy, where humans are not invited.

If you dare to get too close to a moose, they won’t hesitate to be territorial and aggressive. In the case of aggression, a moose will charge at you with their antlers. 

Moose VS Horse Habitat 

A moose is most commonly found in cold climates such as North America (mostly Canada and Alaska), Europe, and Russia. Their bodies have adapted to these climates due to their thick coats that can retain their body temperature.

As a result of this insulation, moose will cool down in lakes and rivers during summer. This is why they are mostly found by running rivers and lakes in forests. 

Domesticated horses can adapt to virtually any habitat if they are given the right resources. People all over the world own horses, and they are most commonly found in stables and barns. 

As for wild horses, the most common wild horse in North America is the mustang, which is usually found in the rocky grasslands in the west.

Other states that are home to wild horses include Oregon, Montana, California, Arizona, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Mongolian wild horses reside in grassy areas in Central Asia, and Shetland ponies are found in the wild moors on the Scottish Shetland island. 

Moose VS Horse Uses 

It’s clear that a moose cannot be domesticated and used for human purposes, which is why they are left alone. A horse, however, can be used for a variety of purposes – including equestrian sports, herding, agriculture, companionship, breeding, meat, and more. 

While a moose cannot be used by humans in the same way as horses, that doesn’t mean they are a useless animal. The moose, like every other animal in the world, is essential to its ecosystem in that they are one of nature’s best gardeners. 

Moose VS Horse Diet 

While a horse and moose are both herbivores, that’s where the similarities stop in terms of their diets. A moose can eat both terrestrial and aquatic plants due to their unique bulbous noses, wherein the nostrils have the ability to shut completely when sourcing for food underwater.

This is also useful for sourcing food underneath snow. The moose doesn’t generally always bend down to eat food, however, as they are mostly found eating branches and twigs and leaves from trees and shrubs. 

Horses, on the other hand, almost always bend down to eat their food. Domesticated horses will eat hay, grass, and often fruits and vegetables as a treat. Wild horses have a similarly bland diet, where they will graze on the grass in their main grassland habitats. 

Moose VS Horse Mating Behavior 

The mating behavior of a moose is a unique one to say the least. During the mating season (September and October), the males (bulls) will dig a hole in the ground and urinate in it. This is their way to communicate with the females (cows) that they are ready to mate.

They will then remain monogamous during the mating season, and the females will give birth to their foal(s) in May or June. 

Horses are distinctly more flirtatious with each other than a moose. Females (mares) will lick, sniff, nuzzle, and generally get very close to the males (colts). During their heat cycle, the mares will urinate frequently and be generally very restless.

The mares will also raise their tails to show off their vulva to their male partner. Horses that are domesticated for breeding purposes are usually guided by humans to prevent injuries, because as you can imagine, the act of horses mating isn’t a gentle one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Moose Mate With A Horse?

It’s very uncommon for a moose to mate with a horse, whether in the wild or in captivity. If anything, it’s probably very immoral to attempt to breed a moose with a horse.

In 2006, however, an alleged moose-horse hybrid was bred in Quebec. The results of the hybrid, called Bambi, were never released to the public, leading people to assume that it was all a lie. 

Is A Moose Equine?

A moose is not equine. Instead, a moose is the largest member of the deer family (Cervidae) and part of the New World deer subfamily. Just because they are four-legged mammals doesn’t mean they are related to horses!

What Was The Biggest Moose Ever?

The current world record for the biggest moose ever recorded was shot in Alaska in 2004. The moose weighed 2,400 lbs and reached an astonishing 15 feet tall. Due to its size, it took 40 minutes for two hunters to kill the moose. 

In terms of the moose that are still alive, the Alaskan moose is said to be the largest type of moose. Often called the “giant moose”, the Alaskan moose is generally the longest, tallest, and heaviest of the four moose subspecies. 

What Is The Female Moose Called?

A female moose is called a cow, while a male moose is called a bull. 

Do Moose Sleep Standing Up?

A moose will sleep either standing up or lying down. When they sleep lying down, their legs will be tucked underneath their bodies or extended to the side. To stand up from this position, the moose will first stand on its longer front legs to push the rest of its body up. 

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