Nature can sometimes be disturbing. On a recent trip to camp, we found the bones of a moose about fifty yards off the road. We will never know how it came to die but due to the proximity to the road, we can probably assume that it was hit by a vehicle. Logging trucks travel this road frequently and at a pretty good speed.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family and have very few predators. Their main predators are bears, wolves, and humans. This one seems to have been a fairly large moose (hard for you to tell by the photo) so it is improbable that it was taken by a black bear (the only kind of bear here in Maine). Black bears will usually hunt smaller moose. We do not have wolves in Maine but they usually hunt the sick or weak animals. FYI, the wolf attacks in packs and bites the rear legs and neck of the moose. Attacking in this method is called ham-stringing. The moose can’t walk if the wolves can injure the legs of their victim. We do have coyotes here in Maine and they travel in packs like the wolf so it seems probable that they could use the same method as a wolf to take down a weakened moose, but I don’t know this for a fact. Moose aren’t defenseless when attacked by a predator as they can kick with their front and rear legs with deadly force. In the case of this moose, we can probably assume that it was killed with human intervention.
The remainder of the bones were scattered hither and yon all over the immediate area. Once an animal has died, scavengers are the next in line to feast upon a carcass. Scavenging is a carnivorous feeding behavior that happens with the remains of a dead animal. Scavengers play an important role in the ecosystem by contributing to the decomposition of dead animal remains. Scavengers that come to mind in our area, are,of course, the bear and coyote. Other area scavengers are raccoons, red fox, crows, turkey vultures, rodents, and birds of prey.
Nature is not always pretty but in the world of wildlife, it is the survival of the fittest.
On a related note, this is the nest of the Canadian geese that I posted about on May 18th. Sometime during the week after the goose laid the eggs, a scavenger found them. What we don’t know is if the goose abandoned the eggs first or if a scavenger scared her off the nest long enough to have a meal of goose eggs. Scavengers of eggs that are laid by loons or geese are raccoons (not probable in this case because this was on a small island), sea gulls or terns, weasels, or mink. Sad, but I repeat, nature is not always pretty.