Female Moose Manipulate Males
August 4 | 1 Comment
It’s been that way since the first male fish walked out of the water only to hear, “Don’t you walk away from me in the middle of an argument!” from his fish wife.
The feminine side always outwits, outsmarts and outclasses their masculine counterparts. Sure they’re physically smaller, but their brains are oh so much larger. As are their memories.
Take for instance my mother. Do you think she’s ever forgotten the first gift my father ever gave her for Christmas? You know, the Christmas she spent hours upon hours of shopping until she found a perfect watch to give him. What did she get in return?
With a cartoon on it.
That memory isn’t going anywhere any time soon, especially since it ensures proper gift giving for all occasions going forward. How devious.
It turns out, Moose chicks are devious creatures too.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Moose-mating season, just around the corner in Alaska, means crisp fall days, ripe berries on the bushes and, according to a new study, animal behaviour that might seem more at home in a rowdy singles bar.
Female moose, or cows, are able to manipulate amorous males into fighting each other, allowing the more desirable bulls to emerge as mates, according to the study, which is based on observations made in Alaska’s Denali National Park.
The cows’ efforts are subtle, so they have long been overshadowed by the belligerent, antler-clashing behaviour of bull moose in rutting season, said the study, which published by the academic journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
Female moose use protest moans to ward off small male suitors, the study points out.
Bowyer and his study partners found they also use those protest moans when approached by some big suitors, setting off fights between large bull moose.
The biologists spent four autumns tracking and observing moose in Denali, listening to grunts and moans and recording behaviour, including fights. They concluded that the females actually foment male-male aggression.
Bowyer said. “They’re manipulating a mating system in which you think they didn’t really have choice.”
Finding the right mate at the right time is critical for successful reproduction, the study points out, because of the “extremely synchronized manner” in which cows give birth in May and a restricted growing season, which limits young moose’s opportunities to eat enough food to survive the harsh winters.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston)