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Reindeer Vs. Moose: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart

Reindeer Vs. Moose: Main Differences, How To Tell Them Apart

How many types of deer do you know? Can you tell the difference between a reindeer and a moose? Worry not if you’ve never heard of these animals, or they usually confuse you because our detailed focus in this reindeer vs. moose article will tell you a lot about these words.

A reindeer is an arctic and subarctic-dwelling deer of the Rangifer tarandus species with several subspecies. In contrast, a moose is the largest member of the deer family, whose males have large palmate antlers. So, these words refer to different deer species. Also, they have many meanings.

The words reindeer and moose have many similarities. For this reason, most people cannot tell them apart. Go ahead and read the rest of this article to learn the differences between these words and the animals they describe.

reindeer dictionary

Definitions Of Reindeer And Moose

Reindeer and moose are names of animals. However, do you know how to describe these words? Below are the definitions of reindeer and moose:

Definitions Of Reindeer

A reindeer is a deer species found in the arctic or subarctic region. It belongs to the Rangifer tarandus species with several subspecies.

This word also refers to any ruminant of the Rangifer genus of the deer family found in the colder regions of the Eastern or Western hemisphere. Reindeers have long antlers with irregular branches. 

Another source defines a reindeer as an arctic deer with large antlers in both sexes. Finally, the Northern Americans refer to reindeer as Eurasia or Caribou.

Definitions Of Moose

Moose represents the largest member of the deer family. The males in this deer family have very large palmate antlers. 

Another source defines a moose as a large-sized cervine common in the Northern U.S. and Canadian region. An adult male moose is almost equal to a horse but with large palmate antlers. It resembles a European elk.

Another definition of a moose is “a member of the progressive party.” A member of the progressive party is called a bull moose. Also, moose is a member of the fraternal organization referred to as the Loyal Order of the Moose.

The informal definition of a moose is “an ugly person.” Some people also use this word to refer to “stew.”

How To Properly Use The Words Reindeer And Moose In A Sentence

These are straightforward words with not too many definitions. So, using them in sentences should be easy. Check out the following guidelines for using these words the correct way.

How To Use The Word Reindeer

This noun only has one definition. Therefore, the only context where it is applicable is when you want to refer to a subspecies of the deer found in the wild of Southern Norway and the Russian Kola peninsula.

The plural form of the word reindeer is reindeer or reindeers. However, the word “reindeers” is less common or rare. Therefore, it would be wise to avoid it, especially when not sure where it fits in your context.

Note that this word is a common noun. So, it would be best not to capitalize its first character in sentences unless the word appears at the beginning.

How To Use The Word Moose

Use this word in a sentence as a common noun to refer to:

  • Any large deer species 
  • An ugly person (informal)
  • A meal’s stew

The plural form for the word moose is moose or mooses. However, the word “mooses” is now outdated and rare. Most dictionaries don’t even recognize it. So, always use “moose” as the plural in sentences.

Reindeer And Moose: Main Differences To Tell Them Apart

These words differ in their spellings, pronunciations, history, and definition. Their proper spellings are REINDEER and MOOSE. On the other hand, their correct pronunciations are “/reyn-deer/” and “/moos/,” respectively. The word moose has one syllable, while reindeer has two. These words are pretty simple because they refer to various deer species.

Here are some characteristics you can use to differentiate a deer from a moose.


A reindeer has large cloven hoofs and is usually whitish during winter and brown in summer. In contrast, a moose has a long head, a large nose, small ears, and a short tail. A moose is characterized by its uniquely shaped and large antlers resembling a human’s open hand. However, it usually sheds its antlers in winter once the mating season is over and regrows them in spring. The antlers take only four months to grow fully.

In contrast, the reindeer has slightly smaller antlers than a moose. The moose antlers are compact, dense, and tough enough to frighten off rivals. Note that reindeer sheds its antlers in winter and regrows a new set in summer.


A reindeer is a herbivore. So, it eats leaves and the twigs of woody plants. On the other hand, a moose is also a herbivore. However, it eats mainly moss, herbs, and ferns.

moose word

Habitat Or Dwelling Place

The moose is native to the arctic or subarctic forest of the Northern hemisphere. So, it is prevalent in areas with colder climates like Russia, Canada, New England, and the Scandinavian or kola peninsula.

In contrast, the reindeer is native to the tundras and taigas in Siberia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. It is also worth mentioning that the moose is a solitary creature. In contrast, the reindeer is the opposite. Reindeers feed, travel, and rest in herds.

Size And Lifespan

The reindeer is typically larger and heavier than the moose. A full-grown moose grows up to 6 feet long and is around 1800 pounds. In contrast, an adult reindeer grows up to 4 to 6.8 feet long and is around 700 pounds heavy. The moose can live up to one and a half or two decades. In contrast, the reindeer lives up to fifteen years.

History Of These Words

The Europeans coined the name reindeer in the 14th century. Its former spellings are “raindere” or “reynder.” This word has Scandinavian roots from the words deer + hreinn, meaning “a genus of deer inhabiting the European arctic regions.” In contrast, the word moose came about in 1606, meaning “a large quadruped mammal with long horns native to Northern America.”

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List Of Examples Of The Words Reindeer And Moose Use In Sentences

Now that you know the differences between a reindeer and a moose and how to use these words in sentences, it would be wise to construct a few sentences. Sentence construction will help you memorize the spellings. Here are examples of how you can use these words going forward:

Example sentences of the word reindeer

  1. Jimmy saw a reindeer in his backyard. 
  2. There was an adult reindeer today in the field. 
  3. The Alaskan government plans to liberate domesticated reindeer in their parks. 
  4. The poacher was imprisoned for killing a reindeer and selling its antlers for money.
  5. The reindeer is a type of deer native to the Northern American region. 

Example sentences of the word moose

  1. Did you see the moose in the park yesterday?
  2. The moose we saw today was more massive than we expected. 
  3. The show featured a few moose and beavers. 
  4. After watching the documentary on various deer species, my son asked for a moose as a pet. 
  5. This moose will not survive the current hot climate. 


The words moose and reindeer describe different deer species, and this is the root of the confusion. Besides referring to types of deer, these words do not have much more in common. Their spellings, pronunciations, and origins differ. Please note that these words are not synonyms. So, it would be best if you don’t use them in sentences interchangeably.