Television has frequently given the public a false perception on animals. From cats drinking milk to ostriches burying their head in the dirt: people have hurt and been hurt by animals due to their misguided judgments. One of the largest and most dangerous animals to make false assumptions on would have to be the moose. The moose is often hunted by both hunters and photographers for its size and beauty. However, this animal is often portrayed by cartoons as slow, stupid and friendly when the reality is quite the opposite.
Having a rather dopey appearance, moose will often lead people into misinterpreting them as slow, dim-witted creatures. In turn; cartoons such as, Rocky and Bullwinkle or Happy Tree Friends, use this to endear an audience to a seemingly helpless character. In the cartoon series of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle the Moose is made a star by being the “typical” moronic moose. Bullwinkle is always following his best friend with the brains, Rocky the Squirrel. During their adventures, Rocky is made the leader of the duo by always constructing brilliant schemes and solutions. Meanwhile, his friend Bullwinkle is always behind him and, as the comic relief, will always be seen tripping, accidently exploding, or bumping into objects. Unlike Bullwinkle, the moose is actually a very intelligent animal. With predators like the grizzly or black bear and wolves, the moose has learned to survive by outwitting its opponent during a chase or by bravely standing its ground. Moose’s also use their intellect to strategically form packs during the winter to pat down the snow and clear paths.
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Due to their sluggish movements and slow temperament, society will often accuse the moose of not only being slow-minded, but also slow on its feet. One of the most popular examples of this in the media would be in an episode of the popular television show, Invader Zim. During this episode, the main character, Zim: a deranged alien obsessed with conquering earth, is briefly detained from his plans when a retarded moose, moving at a snails pace, blocks his path. The reality is that a moose can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Being passive by nature, moose are not often seen at such speeds, but when threatened, make no mistake, it will charge. And with some moose reaching up to 1,400 pounds, it is best to stay as far away from a moose’s way when they go ballistic. Many people are killed each year due to recklessness when approaching this animal. One of the most dangerous times to be reckless around a grown moose is when there is a calf nearby. The bond between a mother moose and its offspring is said to be one of the strongest bonds in their society. This can of course be said of almost any animal, including humans. The Mother will protect its young at all costs and spare no aggression towards any alleged attacker.
When in a relaxed environment, moose are very gentle creatures. However, they are not to be mistaken for being friendly and sociable. They are very shy and do not like to be approached too suddenly because of their poor eyesight. Recently, Disney has produced two movies in which moose are presented as helpful, affectionate animals. The first movie, Brother Bear, tells a tale in which two moose brothers join up with Indian man who was recently transformed into a bear. The moose help the man as he tries to return to body and his people. The second movie, Open Season, once again shows the unlikely pairing of a scrawny talkative moose and a bear. The moose is also, once again, helping the lost bear find his way home. This behavior is very unlike a moose because they are classified as being solitary animal, or loners. Moose do occasionally form packs but, as previously stated, these groups do not last and are only for protection. Only during heavy snow, or when new calves arrive, will the moose band together to form the strongest group they can.
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Groups are always being formed and just like the moose, people will form packs with those they find can help them most. These packs often judge, and form false speculations on others based on appearances and rumors. The “Human Pack” has formed such opinions on the “Moose Pack”, and on other groups, both in and around itself, mostly due to misrepresentation by the media. There is a lesson that should be learned: one should not judge the moose by what is seen on T.V., but by the facts given from past experiences, along with reliable and respected sources who have taken the time to research this majestic moose.