Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/700

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

going into the water, it escapes the attacks of the troublesome flies, and avoids injuring its antlers, which at this time are growing, and are very tender.

PSM V10 D700 The moose.jpg
Fig. 1.—The Moose (Alce Americanus).

The antlers are the most curious things, perhaps, in the structure of these animals. As already stated, they are found only on the males. They are shed annually, in the month of December; in some cases, however, they are carried till the following March. The first year the antlers are merely short knobs; the second year they are four or five inches long, with a single point; the third year about nine inches long; the fourth year they become broad with a brow-antler and several points, and about the fifth year they reach their maximum size. It is a matter of wonder that the enormous horns of these animals grow in about two months! They begin to appear about the latter part of March, or early in April, and in June or July they are full-grown for the season. While growing, they are invested with a skin which is covered with a sort of velvet-like pile; and this skin is nourished by a system of blood-vessels. When they have attained their full growth for the season, the skin peels off, and leaves the antlers at first perfectly white, but exposure soon turns them brown.

The female produces her young in May; at the first birth there is