from Cabin In The Sky , 2012.
Moose! I love these bumbling majesties.
There is an article in the Times today that summarizes the challenges faced by NH moose:
"The winter tick problem in New Hampshire is particularly vexing. The animals lose so much blood they can become anemic. Worse, the ticks drive the moose crazy; they constantly scratch, tearing off large patches of hair.
Some moose lose so much hair they look pale, even spectral; some people call them “ghost moose.” When it rains in the spring, the moose, deprived of their warm coats, then become hypothermic.
Winter ticks hatch in the fall and begin to climb aboard their host. They are dormant until January or February, when they start to feed, molt into adults and then drop off.
Moose spend a lot of time feeding in lakes, but wading in water doesn’t drown the ticks, which form an air bubble that allows them to survive immersion in water.
New Hampshire’s winter tick problem is a relatively recent phenomenon. But then, so are moose. The animals were hunted out of existence during Colonial times; they returned to the state only in the 1970s.
While deer have evolved to an ecological balance with ticks, moose have not.
Deer are grooming animals, so they are able to keep tick numbers fairly low. By contrast, said Ms. Rines, the biologist, “moose didn’t evolve with ticks, and they don’t groom them off.” That has led to swarms of ticks."
Silliker, Bill. Moose: Giant of the Northern Forest. Firefly Books, 1998.