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Never trust a moose with a toaster, a knife, and a bathtub.
In Real Life
, moose, Alces alces
, are at least moderately intelligent as far as animals go. In fiction, however, they can be shown as very dumb. At best, they are a bit slow on the uptake, and at worst, they can even be portrayed as Too Dumb to Live
Likely due to the inherently funny
name, moose are the only species of deer portrayed as stupid in fiction rather than graceful, including themselves
under the older name "(Eurasian) elk" (not to be confused with Cervus elaphus
, the large deer species referred to as "elk" in North America). And no, there's absolutely no difference. "Moose" is just the Abenaki name, which caught on in the East around the same time the Lewis and Clark expedition found the similar-looking Northwestern "elk" ). They are also the largest extant species of deer which, paired with their enormous antlers, often translates into "big and clumsy".
- The Morris the Moose books, about a scrawny-looking moose who for some reason has the tail of a unicorn.
- Moostache, which is about a moose who is very clumsy because his extremely huge mustache constantly gets in his way. He eventually ends up falling in love with a female moose with an extremely large hairdo.
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin, a sort-of sequel to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
- Completely averted in the Norwegian children's book Dyrene i Hakkebakkeskogen ("The Animals of Hakkebakke Forest"), where the moose is the most solemn and dignified of the animals. He doesn't have much of a role in the story, but when he speaks, the other animals listen.
- In fact, since the moose is the largest wild animal in Norway, and the antlers remind people of a crown, the moose in Norway is often called "King of the Forest." Consequently, any moose who shows up in Norwegian fiction is likely to be portrayed as regal and stoic, or at least aspiring to be. note
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. Though Thidwick isn't so much of an idiot as he is a total pushover.
- The campfire song "There Was A Moose" or "The Moose Song" concerns a moose who has some trouble drinking juice.
- In Strawberry Death Cake, Winston is very eccentric and has a quirky personality, often coming off as a simpleton, or at least absent minded, but at other times displays a vast knowledge of the supernatural. A possible explanation lies in the fact that he is a weremoose and was originally a full human. The full details of his curse have yet to be revealed.
- Bullwinkle J. Moose of Rocky and Bullwinkle is the Trope Codifier, if not the Ur Example.
- In Camp Lazlo, Scoutmaster Lumpus is a moose. He is an extremely incompetent, apathetic Jerkass Woobie who doesn't even like being a scoutmaster. As a Running Gag, he has trouble identifying Clam's species (a pygmy rhino). On the other hand, as a nature lover, he is useful to the scouts because he fights the system to keep the camp open.
- George the moose from Arthur, who is dyslexic and has poor social skills (which may or may not be related to his dyslexia).
- They also had a substitute teacher who kept knocking people over with his antlers.
- The Mickey Mouse short Moose Hunters. "Kiss me!"
- Averted in the short Morris the Midget Moose, however.
- Inverted in the short-lived animated series Frootie Tooties, by Honeycombe Animations, where Strawberry Moose is explicitly described as the most intelligent of all the animals and has a rather large vocabulary.
- Averted realistically in The Wild Thornberrys where Eliza had to prevent a bull moose from attacking her sister Debbie and their friend Shane when it mistook them for another male moose while they were playing with a discarded moose antler. The moose is portrayed as simply territorial with bad eyesight (as Real Life will attest). It even offers to help Eliza rescue Debbie and Shane from a cave-in after she, in a moment of Sanity Slippage and Crowning Moment of Awesome, scares off another encroaching bull moose by waving and screaming at it.
- The sequel to Bambi, Bambi 2 had an old grouchy porcupine insult Bambi's father, the Great Prince of The Forest, by calling him a "Big Moose".
- Franklin had the titular turtle working together with a new student who, despite being the same age as Franklin and his classmates, easily towered over them. Initially frightened of his appearance, Franklin befriends the new student and learns of his creativity as an artist despite his awkwardness. Of course he's a moose named Moose.
- Despite only looking like a moose, Yakkity Yak is a Too Dumb to Live yak for fits in this trope.
- Averted with Moose in the animated adaption of Little Bear. For the few times he's shown, he's helpful and quite intelligent. Of course, this may also play to part that he's a Reasonable Authority Figure looking out for young animals.
- The moose in the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Moose On The Loose" is pretty bright, getting the best of the two at the cartoon's end.
- The Cartoon Network original short "Ignoramooses" star two dense moose who give a hunter a hard time.
- It's apparently not unusual in autumn in Scandinavia for elk to become inebriated by eating fermenting apples. In 2011 a Swedish moose made international headlines after getting drunk and stuck in a tree.
- Moose eat plants that grow in streams, some of which contain a parasite that attacks the brains of the moose. Infected moose are mostly aggressive and unpredictable, though, not stupid per se.
Moose sure are stupid, aren't they?
Not as stupid as the shows they're in!