Apparently I am not the only one with a penchant for relaxation on Sunday mornings. I awoke earlier than I normally do on weekends a couple Sundays ago in order to get some work done, just as the sun was rising. Upon looking out my front door, I was distracted by the stunning pink alpenglow beginning to settle upon the Tetons. It took me a few moments to notice this cow moose bedded down just 10 yards or so from my front door.
While I sat at the table (in view of the sleepy moose of course) trying to motivate myself towards productivity but instead looking out my other window in procrastination, I noticed another cow moose bedded down against my neighbor’s cabin less than 20 feet away.
These two moose did not rise from their beds until about 9:30 AM once the sun was high in the sky and I had already spent a couple hours somewhat focused on work. One of the cows walked near enough my window for me to notice the frost built up on her fur.
Moose have amazingly insulative fur, including fine underfur and hollow guard hairs on the outside—much like how humans wear weather-proof exterior layers over puffy insulated interior layers closer to the body. Moose’s lower critical temperature (the temperature where they have to start changing their activity to accommodate for the low temps) exceeds -35 C! Humans have a lower critical temperature of about 20 C, which is why we need to wear lots of clothing even in the summer.