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Elk or Moose? Metro tells it like it is

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We get it every time we write about these dratted creatures: a load of people email us and tells us what we call an elk is actually a moose. Well, yes it is. And then again, no it isn’t. Metro UK picked up the story and got a similarly full postbag. I thought it was worth reproducing their response:

Please note: This article has used the terms elk and moose interchangeably. We are aware that this confuses and even angers some people, but we are fairly relaxed about that.

Elk/Moose terminology update: what is commonly called a moose in North America is called an elk in Europe. The fact that there is a different animal, native to North America, which the locals have decided refer to as an elk is not our fault. The animal featured in the article is the European Elk, Alces alces, or moose to North Americans. That we choose to occasionally refer to it as a moose is partly as a courtesy to our North American friends, to let them know which animal we’re talking about, but mostly because ‘moose’ is a funnier sounding word. But if you think we’re going to give up calling our elk ‘elk’ just because you lot went over there and started calling something that wasn’t an elk an elk, well, think again. Elk elk elk.

24 Responses to “Elk or Moose? Metro tells it like it is”

  1. Juliette Says:

    Is this a football/soccer type of problem?

  2. Kari Says:

    That’s the spirit!
    Or, as we might say it in Norwegian: St p krava!

  3. Jones Says:

    I think so, Juliette.

    You say pot-ay-to, I say pot-ah-to…

  4. HonorarySwede Says:

    The moose or elk in question appears at the end of this well-known Gorillaz video.


  5. HairySwede Says:

    Well, I learned something and now I know that the English call a moose an elk and so when m buddies go elk hunting in the US I need to explain to the Europeans that an elk is not a moose. It’s just so very confusing but I feel enlightened now,

  6. Fredrik Says:

    I’ve been through this more times than I can remember (since I hunt in both Sweden and the US). A European Elk is the same species as American Moose (but the American one grows bigger). The American Elk (Cervus canadensis) is known in Europe as a Wapiti (that is the name the native indians in North America calls it) and it is a close relative of the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) of Europe (Kronhjort in Swedish).

  7. Bonnie Says:

    THen there’s the story of the Swede who went hunting with a Canadian for moose. When the Canadian pointed to the moose, the Swede exclaimed: If that’s a Mus I’d hate to see a Rat!”

  8. ally Says:

    im australian and i know the said animal as an elk but in sweden every swede translates for me and says moose.

    grrr, its an elk!

  9. Giusi Says:

    remember the swedish chef and his “chocolate mousse on the moose”?
    the muppet show will sort out the muddle!

  10. Jock Says:

    To add a wee bit more confusion, here in Scotland the english word Mouse is pronounced Moose “There`s a Moose loose aboot this hoose”

  11. REG CROWDER Says:

    Okay, I get it. I’m from Canada and the US (feeling a lot better about Canada at the moment, you know, Americans and Brits bombing unarmed goat herders all over the world, etc.). The thing we called a moose is what is called an elk in Sweden. (Right?) What we called an elk, is something entirely different.(Am I getting this?)

    There is only one situation in which this could be a BIG problem. If you were from North America and told somebody in Sweden that you wanted to go hunting for elk.

    Hunters in the US and Canada tell me that all you have to do to hunt elk — what THEY call an elk — is go out into the forest and make some noise in an area where elk are known to be. The elk, I am told, are curious. The elk come running up to see what’s going on and then the hunters kill them. (Charming, huh?)

    In parts of Canada moose and/or elk outnumber people. So, I know that moose (elk in Sweden) are not quite so cooperative. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of a moose on a bad day.

    And you are quite right. Moose sounds funnier. If I could own a “Moosehound,” I might go out and buy one right away — just to be able to tell people about it.

    Freelance Business Journalist
    London, UK & Brittany, France

  12. jeff Says:

    Not to chest pound against my European brothers but I would like to submit the following. Americans make up something like 80% of the English native speakers. I know English comes from England but come on. Times change! It’s not the 1700′s anymore. Secondly, apart from Scandinavia, you bloodthirsty Eurofolks killed off all your Elk. So, kindly move on and call it a moose.

  13. engdavid Says:

    I know English comes from England but come on.

    Come on what?
    People still live in England you know and some of them were even born here.
    American is a corrupted version of English.
    When the last English person dies you may, if there are any of you alternate “English speakers” left, claim the language as your own and mangle it any way you choose.
    Until then it remains the property of this lovely England and all who call her home.


  14. Bruce A Says:

    @ REG CROWDER–”The elk, I am told, are curious.”

    That might work on bulls during the rut, or with a cow that responds to a calf’s distress call–if you can accurately replicate those elk calls. Mostly, Wapiti hunting is sitting in the freezing cold (facing intoi the wind, naturally, so you are downwind of where you want to shoot) with a cold rifle and waiting. And most places don’t let you hunt during the rut, either, or maybe limit the rut to archery. If you want to go after 800 or 1000 pounds of horns and muscle with a bow and arrow?

  15. mikewhite Says:

    Yep, got it now.
    A ‘moose’ is always an elk, but an ‘elk’ may or may not be a moose, depending on whether you are North American.

  16. Horst Nordfink Says:

    A Mse once bit my sister…

  17. John Loeffler Says:

    I live along the US/Canadian border and a Swedish “elk” known to us as a moose has been eating the apples off my tree this last week. The real elk (unknown in Sweden?) are totally different animals with white rear ends — and they don’t bother my tree. Moose will trample you if you get them mad at you. Elk will not. They just run away. Oh deer! Yes deer eat the apples too but they run away when you approach, unlike the moose. Deer deer…or is it dear dear? This is all so confusing for us Yanks especially since one type will really hurt you and the other will run away.

  18. Cindy Lednisky Says:

    Moose moose moose. Just because you dont have “real” elk doesnt mean you can just take the name and slap it on whatever animal you want. In America we take sides with war and wildlife. Get off the neutral bandwagon and make up your damn swedish minds. Moose moose moose

  19. Drunken Elk Stuck in Tree Says:

    [...] to me. About 30 sec more digging on the site came up with this… The moose vs elk controversy The Local's Blog » Blog Archive » Elk or Moose? Metro tells it like it is Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread « Previous Thread | Next [...]

  20. Dan Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up. This is the second time in about month or so that a news story I saw on television or read called what I thought was a Moose an Elk. I happen to live in the USA. So… the question is what do you call our ELK which is bigger than our deer and is nothing like a Moose but is more like a big deer?

  21. lord lethris Says:

    I thought a Moose was a form of desert?
    And that Elk’s helps Santa with all the presents for all the Girls and Boys!

  22. David Peters Says:

    LOL… you say tomato, I say tomahto, who cares(except for the elk/moose). Hilarious though!! Made my whole day better.

  23. The Tale of Drunky the Moose | The Drunken Conservatives Says:

    [...] Europeans have to be different, so if you follow the link to the story, the moose will be called an elk, but it’s a moose. ) Attention! Friends don't let their moose friends drink and [...]

  24. Frank Richards Says:

    The animal that is called an elk in Scotland (and, historically, Ireland) is not the same species as the animal that is called a moose in North America.

    If Scandinavians have an animal that they call an elk, that matches what we call a moose, their gripe is with the Brits. The animal we call an elk matches what the Scots call an elk.

    I’ve seen Scottish elk in zoos, and moose out behind my house and they are not the same animal. Scottish elk are pretty much a heavyset reindeer, or as we say here, caribou. Moose have a much rounder head, a bigger body and legs about 50 cm longer.

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