Asbjørn Larsen was out riding his bicycle in the forest northwest of Oslo when he suddenly was confronted by an angry moose that started chasing him. :eek:
Keep your distance Moose are generally shy but can occasionally be aggressive. Never go nearer if you meet a moose (called elg in Norway). Even 50 meters can be too close. If the moose looks at you with a raised head and ears standing up, if hasn't decided whether to stand still or flee. Calmly back away.
Back off quickly if the moose holds its head low and has pulled back its ears. Those are signs the moose is ready to attack. Experts warn that it's nearly impossible for a human to outrun a moose.
Be especially careful if you meet a moose with calves. They can be defensive and aggressive as they try to protect their offspring. Never go between a moose and her calves. That will antagonize the moose and lead to a dangerous situation.
"I don't dare think of what would have happened if I'd had to cycle uphill," Larsen told newspaper Aften. "I probably wouldn't have been able to have enough speed."
The drama began when the active 83-year-old was cycling on one of the gravel roads leading into the forest beyond Skansebakken in Sørkedalen. Skansebakken is the last stop on an Oslo bus line and a popular starting point for skiing in the winter and cycling or hiking in the summer.
Larsen had heard some mysterious grunting noises from behind trees along the road but only later realized it must have been a moose cow irritated by his cycling. Female moose with calves are highly defensive at this time of year, because offspring born in May or June aren't yet able to fend for themselves.
"Suddenly the moose was standing before me on the road, demonstratively, as if she'd decided that she wasn't going to let me ride by," Larsen said.
Larsen, closing in fast on the moose, tried to scare her off by yelling "go back to the woods," but that only made the moose more angry.
"I shouldn't have done that, because the moose snorted, tramped her foot on the ground and started coming at me," Larsen said. He quickly turned around "and just started cycling for my life."
He said he kept cycling as fast as he could for around 10 minutes before he dared to look behind him. Then the moose was gone.
Lasse Henriksen of the local parks and recreation agency (Friluftsetaten) said the moose attack was probably due to the presence of a young calf in the area. "Moose cows will always stand and defend her calf," Henriksen said. He thinks Larsen unknowingly came between the calf and its mother.
He agreed that Larsen shouldn't have tried to scare off the cow. "If you provoke a moose, it will probably go on the attack," Henriksen.