The Moose is the largest member of the deer family, and the males have the largest antlers of any living deer. The heaviest Moose on record is the Alaskan Moose of Alaska, weighing 595.5 kg for an adult male and 480 kg for an adult female. The Moose’s body is about the size of a saddle horse and its legs are long and slender. Its hooves are large, elongated and sharp pointed, with well-developed lateral hooves or dew claws. The head is long with large ears, relatively small eyes, and a square-lipped, bulbous muzzle (the upper lip overhangs). The nose is covered in short fur except for a small bare patch between the nostrils. A long (152 to 762 mm) flap of skin called a dewlap or bell hangs from the top of the throat. The shape of the bell viewed from the side can vary from slender to bulbous (satchel). While the satchel shape is typical of adult males, other shapes of the bell cannot be used to sex an individual. The neck is relatively short, and there is a noticeable hump above the shoulders. The tail is short and is not surrounded by a light rump patch, although most females have a small, usually indistinct area of white or lighter coloured hairs around the ano-genital region.
In general, the body, belly and rump are dark to blackish brown, sometimes greyish brown. The legs are lighter, often greyish white on the lower parts, especially on the insides and on the rear of hind legs. This is most evident in males. The face can be the same colour as the rest of the body, or lighter, or grey. The neck and top of the shoulders are covered in long hair (up to 150 mm) that is usually darker than the rest of the body, and can form a noticeable cape. Moose have antorbital, tarsal and interdigital glands and possibly a gland at the base of the bell. There is some disagreement whether they have metatarsal glands. Female Moose, like most deer, have four functional teats.
Moose calves up to about three months old are light red to reddish brown and lack spots. The hair around the eyes, on the muzzle and ears is black, while the inguinal area and insides of the ears are light. At two to three months of age, the coat colour changes to resemble the adults.
The antlers of adult males are characteristically large, laterally oriented and palmated (palm-shaped). The antlers show their greatest profile when seen from the front, and have one or two sections. When only one section is present, the stout main beam leaves the pedicel laterally and horizontally, before turning back and becoming heavily palmated. Tines of varying lengths grow along the outer edge of the palmated area. When the antler consists of two parts, the short main beam again leads from the pedicel, and then branches into an anterior section. This can consist of two or three large tines directed forward, or it can be palmated with outer tines along the edge. The posterior section is larger and always heavily palmated with a fringe of medium to short tines along the outer edge. Antlers of yearling males usually begin as a simple fork, but by the second year a third point or a small palm develops. Antlers are shed from late November to early January, with older males losing theirs first.
A Moose skull is long and narrow, especially the premaxillae and maxillae region, which accounts for over 36 per cent of its basilar length. The nasal bones on the other hand are short and the anterior nasal opening is large. There is a clear swelling of the frontal bones just behind the orbits, and in front of this, a small depression along the centre line of the cranium.