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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Coprophagy in moose: A first observation

Spitzer, Robert; Astrom, Cecilia; Felton, Annika; Eriksson, Monica; Meisingset, Erling L.; Solberg, Erling J.; Rolandsen, Christer M.


Coprophagy, the eating of feces, has been documented in a wide range of species but appears to be rare or difficult to detect in deer (Cervidae). Here, we report the first observation of coprophagy in moose Alces alces, which was recorded using camera collars on free-ranging moose in Norway. The footage shows an instance of allocoprophagy by an adult female moose in spring (May). We summarize the current knowledge about coprophagy in deer and briefly discuss potential drivers and possible implications for disease transmission. Further research is needed to determine whether coprophagy occurs frequently in moose and whether this behavior is positive (e.g., increased intake of nutrients) or negative (increased infection by parasites or pathogens).


Alces alces; camera collar; chronic wasting disease; coprophagy; foraging; moose

Published in

Ecology and Evolution
2023, Volume: 13, number: 1, article number: e9757
Publisher: WILEY