Don't Let Moose Lick Your Car, Canada Warns

Moose learned they can satiate their winter cravings from road salt residue
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2024 7:33 AM CST
Don't Let Moose Lick Your Car, Canada Warns
Canadian park agency advises drivers not to stop for snacking moose.   (Parks Canada)

There are plenty of reasons to exercise caution while driving in winter—and car-licking moose is apparently one of them. In the most Canadian of warnings, Parks Canada issued a recent missive on Facebook that cautions motorists not to stop and allow moose wandering the roadways to taste their cars. Moose crave salt this time of year, CBC reports, and have learned that roads salted down to prevent icy conditions are a good source of the mineral. The animals have also picked up that salt residue collects on cars, tempting them to stop and take a lick. Even park officials agree that this is a weird one.

"It does sound very funny," says Tracy McKay of Parks Canada. "It's OK to laugh at it, as long as people drive responsibly and do what's best for the wildlife." According to Newsweek, moose crave salt in winter because they can no longer munch on the warm weather plants that typically provide sodium in their diets, like lily pads. While road salt might satiate their cravings, moose expert Rob Rempel warns that it's not a great solution since they can also ingest "toxins associated with the salt on the side of the car." Dietary concerns aside, moose weigh up to 1,400 pounds, so colliding with one is dangerous for everyone involved.

"It just so happens the peak moose-vehicle collisions that we have in BC are in December and January when it's darkest and when we're doing most of our driving in low-light conditions," said Roy Rea of the University of Northern British Columbia. Now that moose associate salted roadways (and cars!) as a viable salt source, it's becoming more common to see them out—and stopping isn't always the best option. "If it's safe to keep going without running into the moose, then we would recommend people just try to slowly, carefully drive away," McKay says. "Just try not to let moose lick your car." More wildlife safety tips can be found on Parks Canada. (A Minnesota moose has become a bit of a viral sensation).

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