Misfit Animals is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn More.

Moose vs. Bear: Who Wins in a Fight? (Differences & Similarities)

Most bears can take down a moose calf, however, adult moose are very strong, and can likely put up a fight against any bear, except for grizzly bears and polar bears.

When it comes to the question of who would win in a fight, a bear or a moose, there is no easy answer. 

Both animals are incredibly powerful and can be deadly when provoked. 

However, there are some key differences between these two creatures that could determine the outcome of such a battle. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at both the similarities and differences between moose and bears, as well as explore which of these two animals would come out on top in an altercation.

Bear vs. Moose: Who Wins in a Fight?

Bear Species Winner
Grizzly bear vs. Moose Grizzly bear
Polar bear vs. Moose Polar bear
Black bear vs. Moose Moose (black bears can kill calves)

Grizzly Bear vs. Moose

A large grizzly bear can take down any moose, and they frequently do. However, a small grizzly bear could have a difficult time against a large moose.

It’s hard to tell who would win in a grizzly-moose fight. Despite the bear’s massiveness, the moose could outmaneuver them.

In the end, it would come down to the size difference. A large bear can easily take down a moose, or a calf, while a small grizzly bear can have a tough time.

Grizzly bears typically weigh between 290–790 lb (130–360 kg), but can reach more than 1,000 pounds. Moose are larger and can weigh upwards of 800-1,600 pounds (590 kg).

Polar Bear vs. Moose

Polar bears would have no issue taking down a moose (in most encounters). While they typically eat seals, they can kill moose as well.

These bears are among the world’s biggest land mammals, and they’re the biggest land predators. They are very dangerous if provoked, and highly skilled hunters.

A polar bear typically weighs between 770–1,700 lb (350–700 kg), which is very similar to a moose of 800-1,600 lb.

Polar bears have been known to combat moose and win. Moose stand very little chance of coming out alive from an encounter with these massive animals.

Black Bear vs. Moose

When black bears encounter moose calves, they often kill and eat them. However, they don’t stand the same chances against adult moose.

In a fight with a small moose or a calf, the black bear would probably win. They are faster and more agile than moose, and their jaws are stronger. Black bears are estimated to kill more than 25,000 moose calves a year.[1]

However, if a black bear were to go up against an adult moose, there’s no telling what would happen.

Black bears are smaller in size, around 90–375 lb (41–170 kg). They do however have sharp claws and teeth. Moose have hooves that are sharp and pointed. 

Differences Between Bears and Moose

Trait Bears Moose
Size 3.3-9.8 feet 4.6 to 6.9 feet
Weight 130-1,700 pounds (60-770 kg) 800-1,600 pounds (364-591 kg)
Color Black, white, brown Brown, black
Strength Incredible bite force, raw power, and sharp claws Very strong kick and can kick 360° around them
Diet Omnivores Herbivores
Habitat North America, South America, Europe, Asia Northern regions of the US (from Maine to Washington, throughout Canada, and in Alaska)[2]

Moose vs. Bear Size

A bear can weigh anywhere from 130 to 1,700 pounds, while a moose can weigh anywhere from 800 to 1,600 pounds[3]. This means that most bears are smaller than moose.

Moose are taller than bears, with the average male standing at six feet tall at the shoulders. Bears are typically four to six feet tall at the shoulder, while some can grow up to almost 10 feet (polar bears).

The antlers of a moose also aid in further expanding their stature. Moose antlers can grow up to six feet wide and weigh as much as 30 pounds.

Bears have claws on their front paws that can be up to four inches long. Moose have hooves on their front and back legs that help them navigate in the snow.

moose in velvet

Moose vs. Bear Color

Bears come in different colors, depending on the species. 

  • Brown bears, for example, can be light or dark brown, black, or even white. 
  • Grizzly bears are usually light brown, but can also be very dark. 
  • Kodiak bears are usually dark brown or black. 
  • Polar bears are white.
  • Black bears are black.

Moose are not as varied in color as bears. They are typically golden brown or dark brown. There is some reddish-brown coloring around the neck and shoulders, and they sometimes have a white patch on the chest.

Both bears and moose have black markings on their fur, but they are usually not very noticeable. The bear’s markings tend to be more distinct than the moose’s.

Moose vs. Bear Strength

Bears and moose have different strengths, due to their different nature. Bears are hunters, meaning they have sharp teeth, claws, and a powerful bite. Moose are herbivores and have very strong kicks.

Both moose and bears are very strong, however, bears are built for hunting, whereas moose are not. That’s not to say, that moose can’t be dangerous.

When bears hunt, they’ll typically claw and bite their prey, attacking from the rear. They often leave their prey mauled.

The strength of moose is their kick. They have incredibly strong legs and can kick 360° around them, typically using their front legs.[4]

angry bear in the dark

Moose vs. Bear Diet

Bears are omnivores and will eat both plants and animals. Moose are herbivores, but they will also eat twigs, buds, and bark from trees.

Bears and moose eat different things. Whereas bears typically eat plants, such as berries, fruits, and leaves, they also eat meat and carrion (dead animals). Moose only eat plants.

Their digestive systems are also different.

Bears are able to digest food quickly so that they can digest fatty foods like salmon. Moose have a four-chamber stomach which helps them digest their tougher food sources.[2]

Related: What Do Bears Eat?

moose eating plants in the forest

Moose vs. Bear Habitat

The bear and moose habitats are different in a few ways, however, both live in many of the same areas. 

The bear lives in forests, whereas the moose lives in more open areas such as meadows and clearings.

Bears are more widespread, inhabiting both North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Moose also live in North America, Europe, and Asia, but their distribution is more confined.

Can a Moose Kill a Bear?

Yes, moose can kill bears. Moose have been known to kill bears by stomping on them, goring them with their antlers, or raking them with their hooves. 

Moose aren’t aggressive animals. But they can still be dangerous. If threatened, they will defend themselves.

Moose have a few defense mechanisms, but their primary ways of doing damage are:

  • Kicking
  • Stomping
  • Using their antlers

While moose typically can’t kill grizzlies or polar bears, they can inflict serious damage to smaller predators, such as wolves, black bears, and coyotes.

Can a Bear Kill a Moose?

Yes. Bears are extraordinarily strong and can kill creatures twice their size. A bear may easily take down a moose, especially if it attacks from behind.

Bears frequently hunt moose. Grizzly bears can hunt adult moose, while black bears keep to calves.

Most of a bear’s diet consists of plants. When they do eat meat, they tend to stick to ungulates (moose, elk, deer), fish, insects, and small mammals.

Do Bears Prey on Moose?

Yes, bears do prey on moose. In fact, bears are one of the main predators of moose.

Bears are opportunistic predators, meaning that they will eat whatever is available to them. Moose are large and easy targets for bears, so they do prey on them occasionally.

Related: Are Bears Apex Predators?

Is a Moose More Dangerous Than a Bear?

Both moose and bears can be potentially lethal to humans, depending on the situation. However, bears tend to be more dangerous, as they’re predators, while moose are not.

The size of a moose is typically much larger than that of a bear. This means that a moose has the potential to do more damage if it attacks.

However, moose are herbivores. They don’t eat meat, and they typically aren’t aggressive. Hence, bears tend to be more dangerous, as they can easily turn aggressive.

Conclusion

The bear is the clear winner when it comes to a fight between bears and moose. However, it does depend on the size and species of the bear. Large bears, such as grizzly and polar bears, can easily take down a moose. Black bears stick to hunting moose calves.

While moose aren’t aggressive, they can still be dangerous. Hunting moose isn’t always safe for bears, and moose can use their strong legs to kick and stomp them.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.