We Are All Dead Moose, Frozen Mid-Fight in Futile Combat

By Rhett Jones on at

Brad Webster was just showing a friend around the isolated town of Unalakleet, Alaska when they stumbled on a stark example of just how brutal nature can be — two dead moose, still locked in combat, frozen in ice.

Webster, who is a social studies and science teacher, wanted his friend to experience walking on ice for the first time. When they saw the moose they were given an up-close look at the dangers that are inherent to the region. Another friend of Webster’s posted images on his Facebook, that have since gone viral. “We were both kind of in awe,” Webster told The Washington Post recently. “I’ve heard of other animals this had happened to, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The Post spoke with Kris Hundertmark, chair of the biology and wildlife department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who explained that the complex shape of moose antlers often leads to bickering adult males being stuck together until they both die.

“These two fellows were unfortunate in that they probably fell into the water while locked together and drowned,” Hundertmark said. “Then again, that is a much quicker way to go than by getting locked together in some forest and slowly starving to death.”

It seems that one moose’s skull was pierced and he probably died early. The two may have fallen into the water together, leaving the victor to drown and freeze to death. “After that one’s dead, it’s kind of like you won the battle but you lose the war, because you’ve got a whole other moose attached to your head right now,” Hundertmark said.

The obvious political metaphor has already been pointed out and it will surely persist.

It’s going to be a long winter, let us learn from the moose. Kill your enemies from a safe distance and pay attention to the potential consequences. That’s the lesson, right? [CBC News, Washington Post]