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Reader photo: More than a dash of gray

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 6, 2017, 1:25 p.m.

A cow moose feeds along the shore of Lake Sherry in Stevens County. Although tick infestations can cause a moose’s normally dark-brown hair to become gray, biologists say this moose may be a naturally gray-phase animal. (Courtesy / VICKIE GARNER SIENKNECHT PHOTO)
A cow moose feeds along the shore of Lake Sherry in Stevens County. Although tick infestations can cause a moose’s normally dark-brown hair to become gray, biologists say this moose may be a naturally gray-phase animal. (Courtesy / VICKIE GARNER SIENKNECHT PHOTO)

A cow moose feeds along the shore of Lake Sherry in Stevens County. Although tick infestations can cause a moose’s normally dark-brown hair to become gray, biologists say this moose may be a naturally gray-phase animal.

“Extraordinary color variants have been documented in many large ungulate species, including moose,” says James Goerz, lead researcher for a five-year moose study underway in Eastern Washington. “I would not be surprised that a moose could be gray given the fact that its hair/fur are white at the base and brown to black at the tips. Seems like it wouldn’t take too much genetic mayhem to achieve a gray variant.

“What I think might be just as amazing as the coat color is the fact that an animal with such a unique feature would survive to adulthood! I would venture to say that the coat color exhibited by this animal is not the result of tick infestation, just another cool example of what is possible in nature.”

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