See moose on the loose chasing thoughtless hikers at Yellowstone National Park

 Bull moose at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Bull moose at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Watching the wildlife is a highlight of any visit to a US National Park, but sometimes you spot something you weren't expecting. On a recent visit to Yellowstone, one hiker filming a herd of moose in Round Prairie was surprised to spot two of the huge animals chasing after a park visitor who had chosen to get a little too close, and was sprinting to escape.

Moose attacks are rare, but the animals can charge if they or their young are threatened, and are particularly likely to lash out if dogs are nearby since they cannot differentiate between a domestic dog and a wolf.

This particular incident was captured by Leah Hilton and shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out careless behavior at US National Parks, often involving wildlife. Other close calls have included people taunting elk, harassing bison, and even chasing bears, all of which are federal crimes punishable by a hefty fine or even jail time.

The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors that animals at Yellowstone are wild and can be unpredictable, no matter how calm they may seem in the moment. The best and safest place  to view them is from within a car, and you should always stay at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from bison, moose and elk.

Stay safe around moose

Moose are naturally more inclined to be inquisitive rather than aggressive, but they can attack people if they feel threatened, with serious consequences. They tend to react particularly strongly around dogs, which they see as wolves.

Last year, a woman was charged and knocked down by a cow moose while walking her dog in the Rocky Mountains. As Associated Press reported, the animal headbutted and trampled her as she walked her pet on a wooded trail. She was taken to hospital for treatment, having been stomped on "several times".

"If a moose thinks a dog is a threat it’s going to react to it, and that’s normal for a moose," said Kara Van Hoose, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.