Science | November 24, 2020 9:04 am

“Do Not Let Moose Lick Your Car,” Warn Canadian Authorities

2020 brings with it a vibrant tapestry of evils

A moose
Do not let this moose, or any moose, lick your car.
Ryan Hagerty/United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Canada’s Jasper National Park abounds with scenic views and impressive wildlife. In the latter category, you’ll find moose aplenty — both there and in the neighboring town of Jasper. As the weather turns wintry, the local government has begun to salt the roads lest they freeze over. One of the side effects of this? Cars and trucks covered in salt. It’s a familiar sight in many places with a cold winter, but here, the local wildlife complicates matters somewhat.

A new report at CNN notes that the government has begun putting up signage urging drivers not to let deer lick their car. That might look strange or surreal at first — or possibly a deep cut by someone who grew up eating Mueslix for breakfast regularly.

It turns out that there’s a very good reason for these signs. Covering a car with salt effectively turns that car into a portable salt lick — something that moose delight in. That isn’t a problem in and of itself; instead, according to Steve Young of Jasper National Park, the problem is that letting a moose languorously lick off your car or truck will likely make that moose more comfortable around automobiles. That, in turn, is a recipe for disaster.

Young’s advice for drivers who want to keep moose from licking their cars? Drive away, he tells CNN. It’s the safest option for both moose and humans, and will keep many people’s winters from taking an unpleasant turn.