Is your property backed up to a moose-infested forest? Or perhaps just located near where moose reside? Or maybe you are at a fenced-in nature reserve or own one, and you’re wondering how high your fence needs to be to ensure no moose hop over and threaten the safety of those inside.
Has anyone ever seen a moose jump? I assume it looks somewhat like a deer jumping or a horse. That huge, heavy muscular body contracts its legs and somehow makes a six-foot leap over your fence line. That’s what I imagine, anyway, but these beasts are bigger than deer and most horses.
So, can moose jump, and if so, how high? Read on to find out, plus other surprising facts about moose and what they can do.
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How High Can a Moose Jump?
I’m sure you’ve noticed that I didn’t ask if they could, and that’s because they can! A full-grown moose can jump as high as six or seven feet. That’s quite a vertical!
If you have a fence anywhere between the ground and seven feet, the moose can most likely scale it.
Moose jump when they are trying to escape danger, but also for foraging reasons. If they see anything appetizing on the other side of a barrier (such as your garden in your backyard), they will hop the fence and chow down.
Moose also sometimes get their food from trees, specifically leaves and bark, and in those cases, they need to be able to jump up and reach.
How Are Moose Able to Jump So High Anyway?
They’re huge! Moose usually measure between five and six and a half feet tall, the six-foot mark being at their shoulders. I’m not sure if antlers count as height, but if they do then they’re even more humongous (their antlers alone can be six feet long!).
Moose are technically deer. They are the biggest members of the deer species’ family, and in North America, they have been named the mammal with the tallest height.
Not only are they tall, but they also weigh hundreds– and even thousands– of pounds. Cow moose weigh in at six hundred to nine hundred pounds, and bull moose are known to be between eight hundred and thirteen hundred pounds!
So with that much weight, how do they possibly get themselves over the fence? Their height certainly helps, as it’s a much shorter distance to the top. But the real evolutionary feature that helps moose jump over such tall obstacles is their legs.
Moose’s legs are not all the same length. The front legs are longer than their back legs, which makes clearing a tall height easier.
When jumping, it’s easy to get the front part over the wall but the back is what gets stuck. With having shorter back legs, moose can easily fold their hind side up towards their body and get that last bit of their thousand-pound self over the wall.
What Height of Fence Do I Need to Keep A Moose Out of My Backyard? What About Other Leaping Mammals Who Want to Eat My Vegetables?
Naturally, as moose can jump as high as seven feet, all you need is an eight-foot fence and you’re most likely set.
I mean, you can never guarantee because there are always outliers in the distribution, but you’ll most likely be able to keep out the majority of these prancing pests. However, if you’d like to be completely safe you may want to make your fence more like nine or ten feet, just in case.
If the threat of moose is a big one, whether to your garden or other people, it’s always better to build a higher wall.
Other threats to your vegetables are different species such as the standard deer or the elk.
Deer, although shorter and smaller than moose, can jump even higher, seven to eight feet off the ground. Thus, for deer, you’ll want to protect your tomatoes by building a fence no shorter than nine feet, with ten being even better.
In general, it looks like if you’re seriously wanting to avoid any giant mammals leaping into your property, a ten-foot fence is the best bet.
However, elk are much less capable of leaping. They can clear a fence that’s three and a half feet tall or if there’s space for the young ones to climb through underneath it, but if you build a fence four to five feet or higher then you should be safe from those particular prancers.
What Other Ways Can I Deter These Long-Legged Mammals from Getting into My Garden?
Alright, maybe you have a fence that’s too low, it didn’t pass the test, but you have no means to build a taller one. How can you keep the deer family away without using any harmful sprays or pesticides that could kill them, or your plants?
There are homemade sprays that you can use. A combination of water, dishwashing soap, and powdered chilis or cayenne pepper-sprayed on your plants won’t hurt their growth, but will deter any leaping mammals from coming over your fence.
Spraying this on all of your at-risk plants will keep all deer away for sure! This is an old gardener’s trick that many swear by.
What if you don’t want to make a spray? Maybe your plants are sensitive, or you don’t want to risk them. Well, there are some other options for you.
The first option is eliminating their desire to want to jump your fence. If a moose discovers you grow their favorite food in your garden, they’ll come back over and over until they’ve eaten it all! So, avoid growing their favorites and they will be less likely to want to come back.
Plants such as tomatoes, sunflowers, hostas, hibiscus, azaleas, apple trees, berry bushes, pansies, chrysanthemums, and petunias are all at the top of the list, and if you can avoid growing them then it will lower your danger rate quite a bit.
If, however, some of these moose favorites are necessary for you to grow, grow them as close to your home as possible because the threat of being near humans will keep them away (most likely).
Another option is to train them to not want to come to your home by growing the plants they like the least!
Lavender, garlic, rosemary, catnip, mint, oregano, chives, bearded iris, thyme, marigolds, and sage are all plants that will make them much less keen to take time hopping a fence for food, instead going in search for smells more worth their time.
What Are My Other Options?
Fences are a top option for keeping your deer pests out without having to do anything extra to your garden, but if your fence is too short, another physical barrier you can use is netting.
Use a garden net or even a fishing net to create a barrier between the moose and your plants that they cannot remove because they don’t have thumbs!
Another option is to use things that will alarm or distract the deer. Moose and deer graze at early nightfall and at dawn, the hours just after you go to bed and just before you wake up.
So, unless you’re committed to the cause, you won’t be watching and ready to scare them away when they come. There are a few things that can scare the deer away without you even needing to be awake.
First, self-timed lights. If you set up blinking or flashing lights to go off during those periods of time, it will disorient and alarm the moose and keep them away.
Finally, you can get noise-making garden decorations or set up a speaker on a timer that will unexpectedly make sounds such as a dog barking, static, or other confusing sounds that the deer may deem to be dangerous.
Or, you can just have an actual dog! Having an outdoor dog in your backyard would be a great tool.
They’ll guard their territory, barking and chasing these large mammals out of there in an instant. As mammals that are used to being prey, moose and deer will likely not be aggressive towards your dog, aiming to jump back over the fence and escape or avoid the situation altogether.