Moose vs Bear: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 11, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


North America has some truly massive mammals walking around. Among the biggest are moose and bears, both of which share ranges in several parts of the continent and even beyond in places like Europe and Asia. Of the two animals, it’s interesting to wonder which of them is better poised to win a fight. Learn which animal wins a moose vs bear battle and why you never know what’s going to happen in the wild!

Comparing a Moose and a Bear

Moose are generally larger than bears.
MooseBear
SizeWeight: 600lbs-1,500lbs or more Height:  4.6ft-6.9ft at shoulder Length 7ft-10ftWeight: 60lbs – 990lbs
Height: 2ft – 5ft at shoulder, up to 9ft standing.
Length: 4.5ft – 11ft
Speed and Movement Type35 mph  25-35 mph
Senses– Near-sighted, so their vision isn’t great
– Great sense of smell – Very good sense of hearing
– Some bears can smell from several miles away
– Hearing twice as good as humans
– Good vision and some bears can see better at dusk.
Defenses– Large bodies
– Capable of running very fast
– Good swimmers
– Large size
– Speed to run away
– Fierce threat displays
– Ability to traverse land and water
-Climbing ability
Offensive Capabilities– Can stomp or kick
– Will ram with antlers, causing trauma or severe punctures
– Powerful, bone-breaking bites
– Sharp claws that can tear open prey
– Uses weight to pin down enemies
Predatory Behavior– None, herbivorous
– Territorial and aggressive at times, especially when rearing their young
Ambush predator in some cases, waiting for prey to get close before striking
– Opportunistic predator that pursues and kills prey in other cases
– Typically secures a kill with a single, powerful bite to the throat. 

What Are Key Differences Between a Moose and a Bear?

What do grizzly bears eat - leaves

Bears are carnivores while moose are herbivores.

©ovbelov/Shutterstock.com

11,843 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

The greatest differences between a moose and a bear include their morphology and size. Moose are the largest deer with palmate antlers that stand up to 7ft tall and grow 10ft long, and bears are large caniforms with shaggy fur that stand up to 5ft tall and grow 11 feet long at their largest.

Although both mammals are quadrupedal, bears can stand on their hind legs for short periods of time. Moreover, bears are carnivores and moose are herbivores.

These unique qualities grant insight into the potential strengths and weaknesses of the animals. That information combined with other key factors will allow us to say with certainty which animal is going to emerge victoriously.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Moose and a Bear?

What do moose eat

Moose are instantly recognizable due to their antlers, dewlap, and shoulder hump.

©iStock.com/RichardSeeley

As with many battles in the animal kingdom, the most important factors in this fight are physical qualities like size and defense as well as the way the animals behave when they are trying to kill another creature.

By finding out which animal has an advantage in five different traits, we can make a very educated guess about the results of the battle.

Moose vs Bear: Size

Moose are larger than bears. A moose can weigh as much as 1,500lbs, stand almost 7ft tall at the shoulder, and grow 10ft long. The largest bears in the world usually weigh about 990lbs, stand 5ft tall at the shoulder, and grow 11ft long at their longest.

Moose have the size advantage in this case.

Moose vs Bear: Speed and Movement

Interestingly, moose and bears move at the same speed. The fastest bear can move at about 35 mph, and a fully grown moose in a hurry can tear across the land at 35 mph. However, bears cannot hold that speed nearly as long as a moose. If the moose wanted to get away from a bear, it probably could before the fight started.

Moose have the edge in endurance and overall speed.

Moose vs Bear: Senses

Bears have the senses of a predator, so they can smell prey from miles off, hear twice as well as humans, and they have very good vision even at dusk. Moose are not built to hunt. They are near-sighted, but they have a good sense of hearing and as well as the ability to sniff out food. Still, their senses are not as attuned as a predator’s.

Bears have the advantage in senses.

Moose vs Bear: Physical Defenses

Bears have large bodies that can soak up a lot of punishment before they give out. Cases of bears being shot by hunters and still being able to attack have emerged in the past. Moreover, bears are deceptively fast, capable swimmers and climbers, and have a very scary threat display.

Moose are also very large creatures that are good at swimming and running quickly. They can also absorb a lot of damage and keep moving while demonstrating a powerful threat display.

Aside from the ability to climb trees, physical defenses between these creatures are a tie.  

Moose vs Bear: Combat Skills

Although they are herbivores, moose can be very tough in a fight. They can stomp or kick their foes to death, putting all their weight to use. Moreover, they can ram creatures with their palmate antlers, doing blunt damage or puncturing their foes.

Bears are more brutal and direct in their attacks. Their goal is to get ahold of another creature by the neck and bring it to the ground. With their immense size, that is easy to do. While strangling the animal, they also inflict deep puncture wounds as well as deep cuts on their enemies.

Bears fight large animals and know how to effectively neutralize them.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Moose and a Bear?

kodiak vs grizzly

A Kodiak bear or a grizzly would have the easiest time killing a moose.

©iStock.com/Jess Bray

A bear would win a fight against a moose in the vast majority of cases. Bears know how to track down and kill moose when they are young and juveniles. They’re also familiar with hunting and killing adult moose, too.

However, we mustn’t simply write off a fully grown moose from this battle. A moose could kill a bear with a well-placed kick or by using its antlers. A bear has to chase the moose down and then take kicks while landing a bite on its neck and bringing it to the ground.

That would be the most likely outcome of the fight, though. Bears like to keep their prey from running, and that is a highly effective way to do it. Once the bear gets the moose to the ground, it will leverage its weight to keep it there.

Whether by strangulation or wearing down the moose with bites and cuts, the bear is going to win that fight.

It’s not often that the smaller animal wins a fight in the wild. Yet, a bear is a predator, and a moose is not. The difference in instinct is all it takes to flip the fight in favor of the bear!

What Animal Would Take Down a Bear?

The polar bear is even larger and stronger than the

brown bear

and capable of defeating it in combat

©flickrfavorites / flickr – License

The only thing that can give a brown bear pause is an even bigger predator. Enter ursus martimus, more popularly known as the polar bear. The largest land carnivore is capable of weighing a whopping 1,540 lbs compared to the brown bear which is only capable of managing 1,320 lb at the most. There’s also the fact that the largest polar bear ever recorded was a 12-foot tall behemoth tipping the scales at 2,209 lbs.

The resident of the sea ice also has a bite force of 1,235 psi per hour which exceeds the brown bear’s which is 975 lbs. The polar bear also has a strike force of over 1,800 lbs. And while brown bears are generally no slouches in the combat department, there’s no doubt that the greater weight, bite force, and strength of the polar bear would ensure it emerges the winner in the event of conflict between the two animals.

What Wild Animals Can a Human Defeat Barehanded?

Grizzly in Water

In polls, the general consensus is that humans feel the least confident in fighting a grizzly bear barehanded.

©Jack Nevitt/Shutterstock.com

As we’ve discovered, the moose is likely outmatched when going one-on-one against a grizzly or Kodiak bear. But how about a human? What wild animals could a human triumph over in hand-to-hand (or paw) combat? People don’t like to purposely put themselves in harm’s way, as our instinct, just like wild animals, is survival. While gladiators put themselves in jeopardy by battling wild animals, we modern-day folks can only imagine what animals we think we could beat out.

An interesting poll was taken of Americans by YouGov asking them what animals they believed they could beat in a fight. The results were as follows:

As you can see, grizzly bears are the lowest on the list of animals humans believe they can conquer in a fight. The number one animal most Americans think they can defeat is a rat! Ha! Also, “house cat” is an interesting label, as it leaves out feral cats. Those poor domestic kitties!

While people, especially men, enjoy imagining what wild animals they could kill barehanded, we’d like to give props to Travis Kaufman, a Colorado jogger who was attacked by a mountain lion while jogging and actually killed the animal with his bare hands! The attack happened in 2019, and his battle made national news. We now know that it is possible for a human to kill a mountain lion with his bare hands. Amazing!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Michael Liggett/Shutterstock.com


Share on:
About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.