Moose crave road salt like sweet-toothers crave donuts

Moose -- The Hot Mess Press

Moose’s love for salt is endangering their lives. Tourists in national parks in Canada might think the electronic road signs they see is a prank. The signs, in English and French, ask tourists not to allow moose to lick their vehicles. Parks authorities say allowing one moose to lick your car could soon have you surrounded by 12 or more moose.

Moose obsession with salt risks their lives

According to Northern Ontario Travel, moose weigh anything between 800 and 1,800 pounds. Their obsession with the salt drives them to the road. Authorities urge motorists to look out for moose kneeling in the roadway to lick salt. Striking them can have devastating consequences for the animals and motorists.

Road salt is candy for moose

A tour company owner says moose’s mesmerization with road salt is similar to a crack addict’s urge to get a fix. Motorists in stationary cars should get moving when moose approach them. Their obsession makes them aggressive and dangerous. As a matter of fact, it increases the additional risks of their antlers damaging vehicles.

Moose
Credit: pxfuel

It is not a new problem

A spokesperson for Jasper National Park says their licking salt off vehicles is not altogether new. Although it presented occasional problems over recent years, the incidents’ frequency has now become a danger. People get too close to these massive animals. They are unaware of the risks they pose, exacerbated by their urge to lick the salt off the vehicles.

According to regulations for visitors to Jasper National Park, visitors must stay 30 meters from moose if they exit their vehicles. Furthermore, regulations prohibit enticing and feeding animals. Guidance for park visitors includes honking or sounding their car alarms and moving on when they see moose approaching.

Additional dangers present on the outsides of vehicles

Although moose seek nothing more than the salt on the vehicles. However, a host of other chemicals can harm moose — for example, spilled fuel from overfilled gas tanks or antifreeze spillages.

Big Horn Sheep licking car
Bighorn sheep also like licking cars
Credit: Zeitlupe-Own-work-CC-BY-SA-3.0-https___commons.wikimedia.org

Officials of U.S. National Parks issued warnings of similar nature for visitors to the Wyoming Elk Refuge. Similarly, the bighorn sheep population of the Rocky Mountain West shares the risk. Furthermore, along with the salt and other chemicals the lick from the cars, cross-contamination could spread diseases among the animals that lick the same areas. This will make more sense if you compare it to a healthy child sharing a lollipop with an ill friend. In like manner, diseases like pneumonia spread among the animals that share the same four-wheeled lollipops.

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