Elk vs. Moose: Is There a Difference?

It’s common to come across a non-technical interview question during your job search, ranging from the most obvious to the most complicated riddles. These questions test a candidate’s general knowledge and the whether they handle difficult, surprising, or downright silly questions with tact. In this article, we’re going to focus on the differences between elk vs moose and where the confusion started.

Elk vs Moose: Where the Confusion Started

First of all, the Alces Alces (more specifically, the Alces Alces Americana) is called a moose in North America and an elk in Europe and Asia. However, those living in North America refer to the wapiti deer (scientifically known as Cervus Canadensis) as an elk.

adult male moose

An adult Alces Alces Americana (Source)

adult elk or wapiti

An adult Cervus Canadensis (Source)

Apart from their location, there’s no difference between Europe’s Alces Alces (called an elk) and the Alces Alces Americana (called a moose). The confusion refers to the Alces Alces Americana (moose) and the Cervus Canadensis (elk) and we’ll clear it up in a moment.

Elk vs Moose: The Differences

The elk, scientifically named Cervus Canadensis, is one of the largest deer species in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America – but smaller than the Alces Alces. It has a short tail, long and thin legs, and a heavily built body. A mature male measures 4.9 feet in shoulder height and weighs between 710 and 730 pounds, while a mature female measures 4.3 feet at shoulder and weighs between 500 and 530 pounds.

The moose, scientifically named Alces Alces, is the largest of the deer species in the world. Males are easily recognizable by their flat antlers, but all individuals have an oversized upper lip. A mature Alces Alces male measures between 4.6 and 6.9 feet at shoulder and weighs between 840 and 1,500 pounds. On the other hand, a female Alces Alces which has already reached maturity can weigh between 440 and 790 pounds with no remarkable differences in height.

Elk vs Moose: The Clarification

To sum up a bit:

  • Cervus Canadensis is known as wapiti or elk in North America.
  • The Alces Alces is known as a moose in North America and an elk in Europe and Asia.

Now you should be able to answer the elk vs. moose interview question hassle free. And if you want to do more research on the non-technical interview questions you might encounter during your IT interview, make sure you also look over our articles on other non-technical interview questions, like what the phrase “play it by ear” refers to or what a “brain fart” means.

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