You say moose; I say elk

120px-Moose-warning.svgIs it a moose or is it an elk? Well, if you’re in Sweden, it’s both!

What you might call a moose in North America is what we Europeans know as an elk. (Not to be confused with a type of deer that North Americans call ‘elk’. Are you with me?) Elk are widespread in Sweden, and even near Stockholm there are wire fences separating the woods from the motorway in order to keep the elk off the roads.


Swedish elk

I’ve seen glimpses of adult elks as they retreat into the woods. I’ve admired elk poo. But I’ve yet to see a full-grown one face to face. They are called King of the Woods over here and with their long graceful legs, they resemble giraffes as they run off into the forests. They may be regal and … well … big – but, at heart, they are shy creatures.

Once, a couple of years ago, as we were going back home in the car, I spotted a young elk – a year-old-bull calf – standing near the cycle path, looking out over the lake serenely.

I got Sir Pe to stop the car and ran back to the elk armed with only a smile and my mobile phone camera.


It turned its head slowly and stood staring right at me and the kids. Slowly, slowly, it began moving towards us. Nearer and nearer. It looked as if it was ready to take on the world. Another passer-by recommended that we begin backing away slowly as even young bull calves can be very dangerous due to their size.

Just then, a strange cry was heard and the bull stopped. He gave us one more look and turned, unafraid and graceful, towards his mother. Together, they walked back to the forest that was their domain.

For more animal stories, please visit: Pet Pride.

38 thoughts on “You say moose; I say elk

  1. Oh my goodness, I wouldn’t have stayed there if he started walking toward us!!! They are HUGE!!! Although I have to say just the other day the kids and I spotted a moose/elk along the road and turned around and went back to take photos with the mobile phone as it was the only camera we had. The moose just stared at us and then turned and went into the woods. Didn’t have the horns so I assume it was a girl..but if this boy is a bull in your photo- it might be have been a boy also…impressive regardless!!!!


  2. So, which elks do you call moose in Sweden. Or, do southern Swedes call all such animals elks and northern Swedes call them moose?


  3. ~I could not have withstood another moment without having that explained to me, so thank you LadyFi!

    I would love to glimpse such a magnificent beast in the woods… Here we have hares, and stray cows and sheep – Rare sightings of red deer and owls and other birds of prey, but nothing so big as an elk…

    I loved catching up here Ladyfi, after my hols… I adored your summer jetties and marquees, and the shots of the dog, and your home-made pizza – I adore chewing crust, I must admit – and the simple generosity that seems to abound where you live – Simply lovely, and thank you so for sharing such beautiful moments…



  4. Yikes! I think his last look was to tell you something like, “You’re lucky my mom was here to stop me. I coulda, ya know! I’m not a baby anymore.”


  5. What great shots! I was “approached” by a moose once while visiting Yellowstone National park here in the states, and he didn’t look happy at the invasion of “his” property by so many two-legged guys. I didn’t waste too much time getting back to the car!

    Have a great day!



  6. I don’t know which is which because we don’t have moose/elks here. I am envious of where you live! You seem to get a lot of interesting encounters! Weren’t you afraid when the moose/elk came near? Brave you 🙂


  7. Great photo!

    We were disappointed not to spot any Moose in the White Mountains on our hols but really reading about the size of them maybe it was just as well!


  8. I’m so glad you explained the whole Elk/Moose thing! I used to argue about this with people. Being from the U.S., I was sure that an elg was a moose, not an elk! I had no idea that European Elk were moose. How impossibly confusing for us all!

    Nice picture.

    The moose in Sweden seem to me to be much more docile than North American moose. Must be an ever so slightly different species. Or maybe it’s something in the water…


  9. We don’t call ’em elks here, we call ’em reindeers?!

    thanks for stopping in my neck of the Appalachian woods! the scariest animals we have here are hillbilly men, toothless and clueless!


  10. I never knew these distinctions. Thanks. Wildlife will always awe me, no matter how old I am. I still catch my breath at a little wild bunny!


  11. Encounters with moose are rare in Espoo too. I´ve seen couple of them going crazy on the highway near by before they were shot eventually somewhere there. Forest is their domain, indeed.


  12. I didn’t realize that the Swedes had their own Elk which look just like our Moose, I wonder..wonder them all mixed up?? ( That was a great song..just couldn’t resist it..) I got too close once..I will blog about it some day:)


  13. totally looked like a moose to me! ;0) I figured an elk to be much smaller…but then I am from US. 😉 Thanks for educating me.


  14. I love moose and got to see my first one this summer. I never knew your moose were called elk but now I know. Unfortunately, here in just a few short weeks it will be moose season for hunters 😦


  15. Lovely shots. It must be wonderful to see such amazing LARGE wildlife. I browsed for a while and among others enjoyed your Shakespeare post. I thought the ‘rural Swedish oil painting’ was beautiful too.


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