What’s the difference between a moose and an elk?

These are 2 completely different species. The English term Moose refers to the species Alces Alces, whereas what we call an elk is of the species Cervus Canadensis. These two are also both different from reindeer (or caribou), which is of the species Rangifer Tarandus. However, all of these animals (the moose, elk, and reindeer) belong to the deer family.

An interesting piece of information is that in Europe the word elk is used to refer to the species Alces Alces. So, what people in North America call a moose, people in Europe call the same animal an elk!




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  • kiwi-ian

    The Europeans have called it an elk for 000s of years (in Latin it is Alces). The Americans then confused everyone by calling the elk a moose and then called a wapiti an elk. So now we have 2 animals called elk.

    It’s a bit like Americans and buffalo (it’s a bison), buzzards (they are New World vultures), lion (it’s a cougar or puma).

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    Yeah…but what’s the difference?  Color, height, etc.!