Barefoot tourist tries to befriend moose at Rocky Mountain National Park – it doesn't go well

Bull moose in Colorado walking through stream
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Moose are huge, powerful animals, often standing over 6ft tall and able to run at speeds up to 35mph despite their seemingly gangly stature. They can also be unpredictable, particularly when guarding their young, as one woman learned at Rocky Mountain National Park.

In a video shared on infamous Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty, the visitor can be seen standing dangerously close to a cow moose and her calf. Predictably, the mother lashes out, charging and narrowly missing the tourist as she kicks with her front hooves.

The clip, which you can see below, was shot using the Live Photo function on an iPhone, so looks somewhat choppy, but clearly shows just how close the careless visitor came to being knocked down. Oddly, she doesn't seem to be wearing shoes, which may explain why she's barely able to escape in time.

Moose are usually more curious than aggressive, but this clip serves as a timely reminder that it's still important to give them plenty of space – particularly during the spring. Calves may look sweet, but their mothers won't hesitate to attack any perceived threat.

"Give these animals plenty of room to roam without human interference," warns the National Park Service. "Bulls and cows are equally unpredictable. During the mating season, bull moose are known to charge and females are particularly protective of calves at all times. Moose can top speeds of 35 miles per hour. If you see a moose display a threatening position of 'head high' or 'head low', it is time to retreat."

Even if a moose remains calm, approaching it can put its life at risk. In 2022, officers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife were forced to relocate a young moose that had become used to being fed and petted by people in downtown Grand Lake. This can cause a wild animal to lose its natural wariness around humans, making it an easy target for poachers and increasing the chances of a dangerous close encounter that could result in it being euthanized for public safety.

For more advice, take a look at our guides what to do if you see a moose and wildlife safety: eight tips for surprise encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.