Moose vs Horse – Full Comparison
Moose are often compared to horses based on their physical prowess, even though they’re completely unrelated fur-covered quadrupeds.
That said, a comparison between horses and moose is warranted due to the strength, speed, and other physical qualities both animals possess.
Below, I will attempt a full comparison between horses and moose focusing on the differences and similarities between the two.
Both animals have very distinguishing features that make them stand out. It’s unlikely that you’ll even mistake a horse for a moose, or vice versa.
For starters, moose have wide antlers that give them a taller appearance. Although horses and moose are close in height, on average, moose can be slightly taller.
Besides antlers, moose also have larger ears compared to that of horses, whose ears are shorter and narrower.
Moose have broader shoulders and shorter necks, whereas horses have longer, thick necks with shoulders that are narrower.
One feature that I find is perhaps a similarity rather than a difference is the shape of the head. Both moose and horses have elongated faces, although the nose of the moose is a bit wider and more elongated.
The legs of the two animals are also different – moose have slightly longer and wider front legs than the back ones, while horses have slender, long legs.
Moose have light and dark brown coats, whereas horse coats display a larger variety ranging from black to white.
If you look closely, you may also notice how moose appear to have thicker coats compared to horses. That’s because moose have a double-layer coat that helps them survive the cold winters of the northern hemisphere.
Horses have a single-layer coat that gets thinner in summer and thicker in winter.
Both moose and horses are herbivores, but there is an interesting difference, even when it comes to the diet of these animals.
Horses will graze on pasture grass when available or eat hay when grass is not in season. They’ll also eat, in limited amounts, grains, fruit and vegetables.
Mosses, on the other hand, have a harder time bending down to eat grass and will prefer feeding on the leaves, bark and twigs of shrubs and trees.
Willow, aspen, and balsam fir trees are their preferred sources of food, but they also indulge in aquatic plants in streams and ponds.
Therefore, while both herbivores, their food sources aren’t the same.
If you were to make a quick guess about which animal weighs more, you’d probably choose the moose as the heavier one. Turns out, mosses may look heavy, but they usually weigh less than horses.
When it comes to the weight of horses, there is a lot of variety based on their breed. Horses can weigh anywhere from 800 to 2,200 pounds.
moose weigh somewhere between 550 to 1,500 pounds, although moose over 2000 pounds have also been recorded.
The weight of the antlers should not be dismissed either since they can add another 70 or so pounds to the weight of the moose.
Therefore, despite moose appearing taller and actually being slightly taller than horses, they weigh less.
We’ve already established that moose are taller than horses. But just how much taller? Turns out the difference isn’t as significant as the difference in weight, for example.
That’s because horses will usually stand at around 4.5 to 6 feet at their shoulders, while moose will stand at anywhere between 4.6 to 7 feet tall.
Moose are the tallest members of the deer family, so chances of you confusing them with a deer are also small.
Because they’re so strongly built, because of their tall height and the sheer size of the antlers, moose can have a very intimidating appearance compared to a horse.
And as I will explain below in the article, there’s another important reason why moose elicit more fear in humans than horses do – their temperament.
There are significant differences in the temperament and behavior of horses and moose. Horses are generally gentle with humans and even other animals.
Horses respond well to training and they’re easy to train and can be ridden. Moose on the other hand are untamed and don’t respond to training.
Horses become aggressive only when spooked or scared. Moose, on the other hand, are generally aggressive, reactive, unpredictable and volatile.
There’s a reason why we’ve managed to domesticate horses, unlike moose that cannot be tamed nor ridden.
Therefore, it’s best to keep your distance from a moose because of the animal’s unpredictable behavior.
Horses and moose can run at similar speeds. You’ve probably seen videos of moose simply charging through chest-high snow, showing off incredible strength and speed.
They’re both fast animals, however, horses seem to win when it comes to maintaining a certain speed over a longer period of time.
moose will run at a speed of around 20 to 30 miles per hour or slightly more. However, some race horses for example can reach a running speed of 55 mph.
Of course, not all horses can run as fast as racehorses, and on average, horses will have a speed of 20 to 35 mph.
Still, if you were to race a horse against a moose, the horse would outrun the moose.
In short, both animals are capable of excellent speeds, but a horse can outrun a moose if it comes down to it.
Strength is also a similarity between the two mammals. If your intuition says moose are stronger, you might be right. But horses are comparatively strong as well.
Since a comparative strength test has not been carried out to date, it’s hard to definitively say that moose are stronger than horses.
Horses can carry 20% of their weight and can pull as much as six times their body weight if said weight is on wheels and the distance is short.
Moses can probably do these things as well. Moses can also easily fight off predators by kicking and injuring them. Their kicks can easily kill other animals and humans as well.
A horse’s kick is also capable of serious injury and even death. But unlike horses who will become aggressive only in situations where they sense danger, moose are indiscriminately aggressive.
The hooves of horses and moose are noticeably different. The most immediately visible difference is the number of toes per hoof – horses have one-hoofed toes, while moose have four distinct toes on each hoof.
Two of the moose’s hooves are in the front, while two smaller hooves are in the back of the foot.
Because the horse’s hooves are growing constantly, they need to be trimmed regularly. But this only in the case of domesticated horses. In the case of wild horses, the hooves are worn down by the rough terrain they walk on.
Both animals can kick with their legs, leaving serious injury behind.
Domesticated horses have a longer lifespan compared to moose. While horses can live, on average, anywhere between 25 to 30 years, moose have a shorter lifespan that ranges from 15 to 20 years.
Since moose are wild animals exposed to the elements and their diseases are not managed as opposed to the diseases affecting horses, it’s understandable why they have a shorter lifespan compared to horses.
Domesticated horses are vaccinated, have access to various medicine and often life-saving surgeries, all of which lengthen their lifespan.
Moose are also much more exposed to predators such as wolves and bears but even accidents such as getting hit by trucks while crossing the road.
Wild horses will also have a shorter lifespan compared to domesticated ones, so it’s not a far-fetched idea that the lifespan of moose would be greatly extended with human intervention too.
Do Moose and Horses Get Along?
No, moose and horses don’t get along. In an encounter between a moose and a horse, the horse will certainly freak out and run away.
And it’d better run because male moose have an advantage over horses, namely their antlers, which can cause deathly injuries in a horse.
Female moose may have less intimidating presence because of a lack of antlers, but even so, it’s not likely that a horse will get along with a moose or be unfazed by their presence.
Although I’ve seen Icelandic horses being unbothered by the presence of moose that have come to steal their hay, it’s not likely that these animals would coexist peacefully because of the wild nature of moose.
Can You Ride a Moose?
No, unlike horses, moose cannot be ridden. Even though wild horses can be tamed, and people will attempt and successfully manage to tame and ride wild horses, the same cannot be said about moose.
The temperament of moose is simply not compatible with being tamed. These large mammals are unpredictable and volatile, unlike horses, whose behavior is predictable.
And if you have a hard time understanding why moose can’t be tamed, there are plenty of other examples of wild animals that we haven’t managed to tame including zebras or rhinos.
Can Moose Mate with Horses?
Definitely an exciting prospect of combining the strength of these two mammals, this exercise in imagination quickly bumps into the realities of genetics.
No, moose cannot mate with horses, because they’re a different species altogether and genetically far and apart.
Moose can’t even interbreed with deer or elk, even though they’re all part of the deer family, albeit different subfamilies, which are simply genetically incompatible.
Therefore, not only would moose never mate with horses, but they would also never mate with deer or elks either.
Genetically distinct but with a lot of similarities in strength and speed, moose and horses are large quadrupeds that also have a lot of differences.
Apart from the physical differences, there’s also a significant difference in temperament, which explains why we’ve managed to tame horses and haven’t managed to tame moose.
In a fight between a male moose and a male horse, it’s very likely that the moose will win on account of its antlers being very effective weapons of destruction.
But it’s unlikely that a horse would stick around long enough for a moose to charge at it. The more likely scenario is that the horse’s flight response would kick in and it would run away from any confrontation with the moose.