Last week, a mama moose and her two calves came over to Roland Rydstrom’s backyard. Roland is from Alaska and was pleasantly surprised when the moose family decided to spend the day in his backyard. They really enjoyed their time in the backyard; at one point, they snuggled up together and even took a nap. The mama even gave her kids lunch. Roland captures their day out and posted the photos on Facebook and they went viral.
Image Credit & More info: Facebook
When Rydstrom saw the moose and opened the blinds to get a better look, the animals didn’t even notice him. “Right away, I found the Flat Stanley my cousins sent me from Iowa,” he told. “I had promised my cousins and their elementary school group that I’d take a picture of Flat Stanley with the moose in my yard, but so far in the almost three months I’d been working from home, I hadn’t been home when the moose were here — a very common experience. Flat Stanley had been out on the local hiking trails with me, but so far I’d been unlucky with moose pictures.”
“I took the pictures of the moose with Flat Stanley, and took a few without him and went to work. I really expected that the moose would walk away at some point but every time I looked up from my work, they were still there,” Rydstrom explained. “I could watch them directly from my work spot. It was a great distraction and a fun way to spend the day while I was editing concert footage for my job with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.”
“Throughout the day, as the moose changed lounging spots or walked away and came back, I’d go back to the window or the open door (the screen door was still closed), to take more pictures of them. They were oblivious to me most of the time (although their ears were up most of the time, so obviously they were alert).”
The Alaska Moose is actually the state’s official land mammal and 175,000–200,000 of these hulking critters call The Last Frontier their home.
It is interesting that male Alaska moose are sexually dimorphic, making the males 40% heavier than females.
A Male Alaska moose can stand over 2.1 m (6.9 ft) at the shoulder, and weigh over 635 kg (1,400 lb) while the female Alaska moose are about 1.8 m (5.9 ft) at the shoulder. And their weight is close to 478 kg (1,054 lb) The Alaska moose is the largest member of the deer family and also the largest moose in the world.
Moose are herbivores, they eat a lot every day. In summer it consumes, 73 pounds of food a day, while in winter, it’ll chew on about 34 pounds.
The moose were in Rydstrom’s backyard for most of the day; from shortly before 9:00 a.m. to almost 7:00 p.m. “They took two quick trips through the neighborhood, but quickly returned to their spots in our backyard,” he said. “Most of the time, as you can see from the pictures, they really were just lounging here.”
“A neighbor reported that she’d observed this same moose family running along the road a few miles from our neighborhood earlier that morning. If I’d taken videos early in the morning, you’d have noticed that the mama, in particular, was breathing very heavily. They needed rest, and I think they felt safe to rest here in our backyard.”
“Note the smile on its face as it knocks over this pot. Sociopath.”
“And just like that, the marigold is knocked over and that baby pretends it didn’t have a thing to do with it…”
“The calves spent a lot of time lounging together. It was cute seeing them lying together and moving with the sun throughout the day.”
Rydstrom was wise to stay inside to photograph the moose family. They are not usually aggressive but they can become incredibly dangerous when provoked.
“As the moose family left and returned to the backyard, they’d nibble on plants, or in the case of the calves — the patio furniture and decorations in our backyard and our neighbor’s backyard — just like a baby, putting everything in their mouth,” Rydstrom added.
“In fact, our neighbor started turning her decorative patio lights off and on to try to scare the baby who kept trying to eat a light bulb because she was afraid the glass would break in its mouth.”
“The mama loves eating our yellow begonias and the neighbor’s orange begonias; she also loves the leaves on the trees, the astilbe, bleeding hearts (they’ve bloomed and I’m lucky she didn’t eat them that day), and the orange blossom bush’s leaves.”
“Too bad Roland was on a phone call when the most exciting action occurred, he didn’t get photos or a video. “Another cow and her calves came running through the backyard near the end of the day. I could hear them running this way, but I was unable to get a video of them through this lounging moose family.”
“The mama and her babies in my pictures jumped up and quickly ran after them. So there were two cows with four calves running through the backyards. It was a lot of action that I was just relaying to one of my friends over the phone.”
“Usually, they just walk through the yard and nibble on our plants and trees or play in the neighbor’s sprinklers. A few years ago, we thought a mother was about to give birth in the exact lounging spot in my pictures.”
“She was lying down in the sun for several hours with very labored breathing while stretching her legs. But it was a false alarm and she had her twins across the street that night.”
Roland’s partner Cathy said this on the Facebook post. “It happens all of the time for others; we just got lucky this time to experience it ourselves.”
She’s been in Alaska since 1976 and has never seen anything like this taking place in her yard, and she’s lived much further up the hillside toward the mountains before living in this neighborhood.