SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), Utah is home to between 2,500 and 3,000 moose.

They are the largest animals in the deer family, and many of them can be found along the Wasatch Front and in northern and northeastern Utah, according to DWR.

They are generally found in forested areas, and have a diet that consists of mostly “aquatic vegetation” during spring and summer, then bark and twigs in the winter.

However, this summer is unique.

Due to drought conditions, DWR states that people could see more moose in urban areas searching for water.

Not only that, but DWR states that moose are heavily impacted by ticks during the summer months and drought seasons, due to the fact that winter ticks have a higher survival rate during mild winters and springs.

DWR biologists have reported finding up to 10,000 ticks on a single moose.

People have also claimed to have seen “white moose” in Utah during this time of year, due to the animals reportedly rubbing off hair in an attempt to get rid of the ticks.

Adult moose in Utah can weigh anywhere between 600 to 1,000 pounds, and due to their large size, they are highly dangerous when they feel threatened.

In fact, DWR states that in some areas of the U.S., there are more people injured by moose than bears each year.

DWR Wildlife Section Chief Covy Jones says, “In my years of working with wildlife, I have dealt with bears, rattlesnakes, cougars and moose, and the only species that I’ve had turn and come back at me was a moose. People often underestimate how aggressive they can be.”

Moose often feel threatened when people or dogs get too close, leading them to charge, knock someone over and stomp on them.

Here is a list of warning signs that a moose may become aggressive:

  • Lowering their head
  • Hair standing up on the neck
  • Licking their snout
  • Pinning their ears back

Additionally. here are some tips DWR has provided to stay safe in case of an encounter:

  • Always give moose a lot of space and watch their behavior.
  • Never try to approach or feed a moose.
  • Keep dogs leashed and under control at all times. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to chase or harass protected hoofed wildlife.
  • Stay calm and do not run away. Talk, make your presence known and slowly back away in the direction you came.
  • If a moose charges you or chases you, hide behind something solid, like a tree, or try to get inside a vehicle or building.
  • If a moose knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head and lie still until the moose retreats.

For more information on moose in Utah, click here.