Impossibly Rare White Moose Looks Straight Out of Lord of the Rings

white moose
© Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock.com

Written by Maxwell Martinson

Updated: October 20, 2023

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A moose on its own is a pretty marvelous thing. It stands taller than a horse, hangs a striking rack of antlers out for all to see, and poses a serious risk if you ever cross paths with it.

Seriously, moose attack more humans than any other North American mammal. The next time you take a family vacation to a National Park and see people taking selfies a few feet away from a moose, do not join in.

Moose are peaceful when unprovoked, but they demand the utmost respect. That’s why it’s such an amazing experience when you see one. You’re wrapped with appreciation, amazement, fear, and excitement all at once.

There’s something about them that we can all marvel at, even if we’re not sure precisely what that thing is.

Now imagine that you encounter an albino moose with white horns peacefully crossing a stream. The scene is truly like a good omen waiting for you as approach Rivendell in the wake of a long Tolkien-esque journey.

See an Otherworldly White Moose in This Video!

How Rare are White Moose?

You could grow up in moose country, conduct moose-specific research, and dedicate your life to observing wild moose without a good chance of seeing an albino individual.

They’re so rare and spiritually significant that they hold specific protections in Canada where normal moose might otherwise be hunted.

Interestingly, there are two types of ‘white moose’. Some are born with a genetic variation that isn’t albinism, but simply the presence of white fur. This occurs more often when a small population lives in geographic isolation for a period of time.

Spirit Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) - In Green Forest

There are only around 500 Kermode “spirit bears” remaining.


Image: NaturesMomentsuk, Shutterstock

©NaturesMomentsuk/Shutterstock.com

A similar example is the Kermode bear or “spirit bear” in British Columbia. There are only around 500 individuals remaining, and they’re white because of recessive genes rather than albinism.

According to Purdue University, albinism has a rate of 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 in nature, depending on the species.

The condition that causes the white moose to be white is called ‘leucism.’ Sweden, where the video below was shot, is home to arguably the largest population of white moose in the world.

Leucism is the same condition that polar bears and arctic foxes have, leaving them white. White moose aren’t a distinct population or species, however, and research is still being done to fully understand this beautiful genetic variation.

Significnace of White & Albino Animals

Albinism (and leucism) are extremely rare in nature. Just as we value rare jewels and rare talents, we value rare animals.

White animals like the moose in the video, though, are exceedingly special because they stand apart from animals that we otherwise see on a regular basis.

Cultures that hunt and encounter mass groupings of animals typically assign deep spiritual meaning to encounters with albino animals. Moose, Buffalo, and other albino animals with albinism are thought to bring truth, luck, wisdom, and more in various cultures.


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About the Author

Hi! I'm Max and I'm a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been freelancing for more than five years and love the freedom and variety that this profession offers. Animals are also a big part of my life, and a lot of my time is dedicated to playing with my cat, Herbie.

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