What Do Moose Eat In The Winter? 5 Common Foods

What nourishment do moose consume? For one main reason, their diet varies throughout the year. Moose find it difficult to get enough food when leaves fall from trees and shrubs and snow and ice blanket the ground and waterways due to plants going into dormancy brought on by cold weather.

It’s crucial to accumulate as much fat as you can during the spring and summer before winter sets in. Moose consume 40 to 60 pounds of food a day during those months. Moose consume aquatic plants, twigs, bark, buds, fruits, and grasses. Aspen, birch, maple, willow, and viburnum, a kind of blooming evergreen, are among the preferred trees and shrubs.

Moose have to adjust to the winter months when food is sparse and they must consume whatever plants they find. They slow down after eating to avoid burning more energy than they take in. What winter food do moose consume? These are the five typical items found in a moose’s winter diet.


The Algonquin word “moosu,” which meaning bark remover, is where the term “moose” originates, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Another theory links the term “moose” to the Algonquian word “mooswa,” which meaning “twig-eater.” Both translations appear appropriate. Bark, as the name implies, is an essential component of their diet.

Tree bark is easily found, however property owners are irritated because of the harm moose gnawing causes to trees. Moose incisors may quickly shred and scrape off substantial sections of tree bark. That bark is broken up and ground down by the molars and premolars. The process doesn’t end when they swallow the food after they’ve consumed it.

Since moose are ruminants, their stomachs are divided into four chambers. They have to consume, rest, and then regurgitate the partially digested food. After that, they will chew on the partially digested meal for up to eight hours per day, which further breaks it down for when they eventually swallow it whole. This is referred to as “chewing the cud.” The same is true with cows.

Fruit & Berries

A moose does not actively seek out food in the winter, yet they do consume berries and other fruit. Rather, they consume them as they remove twigs, bark, and needles off trees. One of the berries that moose consume most frequently in the winter is juniper. In addition, they have been observed consuming crab apples or any other apples that are still hanging on trees with visually appealing bark or twigs.

They will bend down to consume fallen apples or berries from plants that are edible in the winter. Moose will consume whatever fruits and plants will help them survive the winter, even though it’s not their first preference.

Pine Needles

Because there are no leaves in the winter, moose consume the green needles from pine and fir trees, which are similar to balsam. They consume what is abundant, and in the woods of the north, balsam fir is abundant. Because moose don’t find needles to be as nutrient-dense, they must supplement with staples like bark and twigs.

Spruce boughs

Moose will consume whole spruce boughs during the winter, especially the sensitive tips. Because of their height, they may reach higher up trees, where the tips and boughs of smaller spruces are found. Because other animals can’t get to them, they are more plentiful, simpler to chew, and have more nutrition.


Twigs make up the majority of a moose’s winter diet, much like bark does. Although willow and aspen twigs are the most preferred, a moose will scavenge for any edible twigs it can reach. Since most moose can reach eight feet without any difficulty, they can easily reach twigs that other animals, including deer, cannot. They hold the twigs between their incisors and tug to consume them.

Despite the stiff and fibrous nature of twigs, moose’s stomach microorganisms aid in the breakdown of roughage. Their first stomach can accommodate up to 90 pounds of food in the summer and up to 112 pounds in the winter.

Watch for Moose Licking Road Salt

Regarding the winter diet of moose, there’s one additional thing to know. Aquatic plants and greens in the summertime supply vital minerals, particularly sodium. This explains why, during the winter, you could witness a moose licking snowbanks or road surfaces. What they want is the salt. A moose is licking a person’s parked car when they come outside.

Canada has even gone so far as to post electronic signs on highways to make sure that motorists take action to deter moose from acting in this way. It leads to issues with moose developing a phobia of cars. Quick advice on what to do in the event that a moose tries to lick the salt off your automobile can be found on Park Canada’s Wildlife Safety Quiz. It’s wise to heed this counsel.