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Warning: Moose licking vehicles in Alberta Park

 
Marshal
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"It sounds like a sitcom storyline aimed to poke fun of Canadians, but Alberta Parks has issued a sincere warning about moose licking vehicles in Kananaskis"



Story here
 
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The standard herbivore diet is very low in sodium, so they look for places where salt is available, often an outcropping of rock salt at the surface. If you go and put salt all over the roads, it will dry onto the sides of cars. We see it in the wetter climate here, as a white deposit all over the vehicle up to 2′ above ground level. The best way to placate the moose is of course to put fly‑paper on your car too, and you will have it eating out of your hand in gratitude.
 
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If you go backpacking in the Kootenays (south-eastern British Columbia) it's recommended that after you park your car at the trailhead, you wrap it in chicken wire so that animals can't get underneath it. That's because porcupines will chew on your brake lines and possibly sever them, which makes it hazardous when you drive away. I don't know if this happens elsewhere in the porcupine's range. When we went there we took a fresh roll of chicken wire but found we hadn't needed to do that because other people had just left their chicken wire at the side of the parking lot when they left.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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What on earth would porcupines want brake fluid for? Now, screenwash, which contains about 30% alcohol, that I could understand
 
Paul Clapham
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Porcupines like to chew on things, that's how they get their food. And they especially like to chew things with salt on them, that's how they get their salt. Now porcupines can't get at the windscreen washer fluid receptacle, and the car's tires are too difficult to chew. Although they might have a go at the tires, I suppose, but in these days of radial tires they aren't going to get far. But the brake fluid lines are accessible to porcupines, which don't mind crawling under things (that's how they avoid predators).

(When we were driving up the Dempster Highway in the Yukon several years ago we came across some of the locals who were hunting a porcupine; we pulled over to inquire and the beast headed straight under our car. They had to ask us to move it so they could continue their hunt.)
 
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Is the Moose a dangerous animal? Why the warning?
 
Paul Clapham
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Yes, the moose can be a dangerous animal. It's taller than you are and it can weigh almost as much as a car does. So if it gets annoyed and decides to charge at you then being trampled by a moose is a bad outcome for you. Usually a moose would rather not be involved with you, just like bears don't want to be involved, but if you do something careless (like poking it with a stick while it's licking your car) then it might lash out.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Just as a cow is usually a harmless beast . . . until you get between cow and calf with a dog. One walker a year is trampled to death in UK because they walk their dog between a cow and her calf.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Just as a cow is usually a harmless beast . . . until you get between cow and calf with a dog.


That lesson has been learned in practice when I was a child. My cousin was scared about me, luckily after the few seconds I regained consciousness.
 
Ron McLeod
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It's that time of the year again ...


Twitter: https://twitter.com/_CLCampbell/status/1327766418109079557

 
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Which raises the question: How do you stop Moose licking your car?
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Spray it with chilli powder.
 
Paul Clapham
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Spraying a moose with chili powder sounds pretty dangerous.
 
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Agreed - do not mess with moose.  How to stop them, well that's a good question... keep moving away from them, or at least sideways past them.  Not towards them.
 
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Ah c'mon, are you all a bunch of kids or are you real men? Just think of the movie "Ouo Vadis', where a man faces a raging bull in the arena. That guy grabs the bull at the horns and turns its head upside down. No more car licking.
 
Paul Clapham
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Spray it with chilli powder.



Actually... your post contained a link to Paul's page about bear spray. Which is basically chili powder when you come right down to it.

I stayed at a lodge in the Arctic once, and you could go out for a walk if you took a radio and a can of bear spray, because polar bears are a positive danger. I asked how close the bear should be before I pulled the trigger and the owner said "About four meters". Okay. So just over one polar-bear length then. But fortunately there were no bears in the area.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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A bag of chilli powder from the local supermarket selling food popular in Asia would be much less expensive/
 
Paul Clapham
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I checked my local supplier and they do sell bags of chili powder -- which weigh 30 grams. A bag is only $2.39, so yeah, it's less expensive, but it would be less effective too.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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I'll check at KFS some time. They will probably charge more like $12.39...for 1000g.

You can coat the car with chilli powder before setting off at that price.
 
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