Ever since we moved here I have noticed that we have TONS of moose wandering around our yard. My biggest problem is I can't tell if they are male or female. I never know what to call them and I like to talk to them as they eat my yard/ trees/ bushes and soon to be flower garden. For now I just call them all Moosey, but that feels a bit generic and impersonal. I would really like to be able to call them Fred or Bertha instead. Now there are a few factors that could tell me what is what and who is who and who is what.
Time for a disclaimer: I am not an idiot. I know the best way to find out the sex is to check out the goods. I grew up on a farm. I know what male genitalia look like on large animals. However, I am not about to get close enough to a moose to check that out. They like to trample people who try to check out their gonads.
Now, there is another way to see who is who and what is what and who is what. That would be the antler's. Seems simple enough. Big ol' antlers = bull. No antlers = cow. (See, they even use the same farm terminology that I am used to. How nice of them.) The problem with antlers is that they are not horns. Horns are permanent and antlers are shed every fall/winter. Once those boys shed their antlers I can't tell who's what anymore and I spend all winter wondering if I'm looking at boys or girls or hermaphrodites. I feel sort of bad for the old boys. They spend half of their existence being possibly mistaken for females. That's a hard blow to the male ego.
But then, just when I've about thrown in the towel, spring rolls around. Today, I looked, and I looked a little harder, and noticed something I hadn't seen all winter.
Here he is in all his glory. (Don't mind the blurry, far away picture. My meager little point and shoot can only do so much.) Those little nubs on each side of his head will soon blossom into antlers and the gender confusion will end for the season. And just to make up for all the pain of being asexual all winter, he gets a bigger and better set of antlers than the year before.
For now, I've named him Hellboy. I think it's appropriate, don't you?