Just days after government officials released an advisory about vehicle-licking moose, a Banff couple witnessed the bizarre circumstance firsthand.
On Thursday, Theresa Malan and her husband went for a drive through Alberta’s Lougheed Provincial Park hoping to spot a moose.
Malan told Global News that they didn’t have much luck at first, but just as they were about to turn around, a bull moose appeared in front of them. It was licking the salt off another vehicle, so they decided to pull over and take a video of their close-encounter.
According to experts, moose are known to be quite opportunistic when it comes to finding sources of salt because, like us, they crave it naturally.
“All animals have a natural need for salt because it is an important component in their blood,” the Calgary Zoo’s Dr. Doug Whiteside told Global News. He says they’ll lose salt from their system throughout the day, and they need to replenish it in order to maintain optimal health.
“…if there is not a natural source of salt available they will find an alternate source, like the salt from the roads on the vehicles.”
Milan, who grew up in Ontario, has lived in Banff since 2005 so she’s no stranger to moose. Still, she told reporters that she’s never been as close as to one as she was on Thursday.
Shortly after they pulled to the side of the road, the moose made its way over to the couple’s truck and began licking their windows for what lasted “a good 30 to 45 minutes,” Malan told CBC.
“He left moose kisses all over the vehicle,” she said. “A pretty Canadian and rare experience.”
The moose got so close, in fact, that the couple could feel his antlers brushing up against their vehicle.
The incredible encounter came not long after the Alberta government warned provincial park visitors about moose approaching cars in trailhead parking lots at Chester Lake and Burstall Pass. Although the warning advised vehicle owners to sound their horn if a moose approached their vehicle, Malan told reporters that the animal was very gentle.
“He was so placid and chill and he just had very kind eyes. He didn’t have any aggression within him at all,” she said.
Despite this moose’s gentle approach, it’s wise to be mindful of the animal’s size. An average female moose weighs between 440 and 790 pounds, while an average male weighs between 840 and 1,540 pounds, which can quickly become an issue if the animal does get aggressive, or if you get between a cow and her calf.
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