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Moose Are Idiots

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Never trust a moose with a toaster, a knife, and a bathtub.

"Dumb like a moose, Dib. DUMB LIKE A MOOSE!"

In Real Life, moose, Alces alces, are at least moderately intelligent as far as animals go, and there's nothing to say they aren't at least as smart as other deer species. 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. They very often speak with a Simpleton Voice.

Likely due to the inherently funny name and rather goofy appearance, moose are the only species of deer portrayed as stupid in fiction rather than graceful or marvelous, including themselves under the older name "(Eurasian) elk" note . 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". More negative portrayals of moose will have them be The Brute with Dumb Muscle tendencies, like Angry, Angry Hippos.

See Dogs Are Dumb, Doofy Dodo, Unwise Owl and Dumb Dinos for other animals portrayed as having similarly low intelligence.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the subtitler's sister was the idiot, "Karving" her initials into the moose, causing a violent reaction from said moose.
    Subtitle: A møøse once bit my sister...

  • Blue Moose: Averted. The titular moose not only speaks English and French, he is not tame and he resents any implication that he is.
  • The Morris and Borris books, starring Morris the Moose, 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. In the animated series, he doesn't really see all that dumb, but still has the typical stupid-sounding voice associated with a dumb moose.
  • In fact, since the moose is the largest wild animal in both Norway and Sweden, and the antlers remind people of a crown, in those two countries the moose is often called "King of the Forest." Consequently, any moose who shows up in Norwegian or Swedish fiction is likely to be portrayed as regal and stoic, or at least aspiring to be — though the Norwegian ones might sound a little silly because they're imitating the speech patterns of King Harald V of Norway. The idea of moose being idiots as a whole, though, is pretty alien to Norwegians and Swedes.
  • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. Though Thidwick isn't so much of an idiot as he is a total pushover.
  • In the online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg writes a report on moose. His only true fact is one he recalls from reading a book called Dumb Animals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Semi-subverted with Mr. Moose on Captain Kangaroo. Not the brightest puppet a hand could control, but he could still trick the Captain to say something that will have ping pong balls raining down on him.

  • The campfire song "There Was A Moose" or "The Moose Song" concerns a moose who has some trouble drinking juice.


    Web Animation 

  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Mickey Mouse short Moose Hunters. "Kiss me!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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" stars two dense moose who give a hunter a hard time after convincing themselves they're his new pets.
  • Downplayed on Mack & Moxy, with Mack, the blue moose partner of Moxy, a pink raccoon. He's smart enough to take a lead role in the adventures on the show and be generally helpful. That said, official descriptions for the program also describe him as having "two left feet" as well as being a "lummox" and he's also something of a Literal-Minded Big Eater. He also speaks with the slow, Simpleton Voice typical of the characterization.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Party Moose," Layla attempts to scare the moose off the runway by buzzing it with a low pass. The moose doesn't even notice the enormous "bird" swooping down on it, and just continues to graze.
  • Numb Chucks: Inverted with Hooves, a decently smart Neat Freak moose who actually suffers from the stupidity of the two woodchuck protagonists. Though admittedly, he once tried to limit contact with bathroom germs by wrapping himself in toilet paper.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Inverted again with Ellie. Ellie is a moose, but she's clearly smart enough to be an EMT.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Ultimoose, the first villain faced by Yin and Yang, is Testosterone Poisoning incarnate, but not much else. This is actually more of a conscious choice for him, as he considers books and smarts to be too girly for his tastes.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • A full-grown bull moose weighs over half a metric tonne, and they very frequently run across highways in the rural forested regions of the northerly countries where moose are common. This produces very-often-fatal results for the moose and often-fatal results for the occupants of the vehicles that collide with them (to say nothing of the condition of the vehicle itself), because a moose is so tall that when its legs are knocked out of the way, the rest of the moose just skips over the hood and crushes the people inside. Of course, the moose — like the drivers that run into them — are just trying to go somewhere. Just as the driver might not expect a sudden obstacle when rounding a bend, the moose doesn't expect an object to appear out of nowhere coming toward them at dazzling speed. Paired with the prominent notices of animal crossing, it is more often human complacency than the animals' fault — especially if the driver is driving over the speed limit around blind corners at dusk or dawn when the moose are most active. Road engineering mitigates this with cleared road shoulders, gigantic fences, and/or special underpasses for the moose to walk through, although these are obviously expensive and installed only on major roadways and freeways.
  • In addition, unlike many other prey animals, moose don't avoid conflict. They are large and have no problem fighting off predators, meaning they aren't afraid of much of anything. This can cast them as Too Dumb to Live when they're outmatched and seem to be acting in opposition to their own best interests. This is particularly apparent in the above-mentioned vehicular collisions. Deer will often startle and jump out of the way...moose will not. It's recommended by many municipal driving departments to aim for a moose's rear end if you are unable to avoid a collision, both to minimize the amount of moose through your windshield, and because the moose just might continue walking, and you'll avoid it completely.

Statler: Moose sure are stupid, aren't they?
Waldorf: Not as stupid as the shows they're in!
Both: Doh-ho-ho-ho-ho!

Alternative Title(s): Everythings Dumber With Moose, Dumb Moose, Moose Are Morons