What’s Up With The Hooves On This Moose?


Photo by Becky Grady
Photo by Becki Grady


Check out this report from KTUU in Anchorage on a moose with hooves you have to see to believe. 

Battle said the copper deficiency causes moose hooves to grow faster than they can wear away. The condition results in an elongated and curved hoof, commonly known as ‘sleigh hoof.’

“We see them every so often here in Anchorage and I know sometimes on the Kenai Peninsula,” Battle said. “We get reports of them in Anchorage about once or twice a year at best … it’s not very common.”

According Battle, the southcentral region of Alaska has low levels of copper in the soil and vegetation that moose commonly eat, which could explain why more reports of the phenomenon are made here than in other parts of the state. 

Why don’t a higher number of moose in the region display this deformity? Natural selection, Battle said. “When you have a deficiency of a needed mineral in a particular area, some individuals will be more efficient at absorbing it than others.”