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Thursday, December 12, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Reader photo: More than a dash of gray

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 6, 2017

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.”

Web extra: Submit your own outdoors-related photographs for a chance to be published in our weekly print edition and browse our archive of past reader submissions online at spokesman.com/outdoors.

Wordcount: 194

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