Parasites and Diseases
Papillomas (Warts)

A Field Guide


caption follows
Moose with numerous warts.

What causes warts?
  • Warts in animals are caused by viruses similar to those that cause warts in people.
  • Papillomas are spread between animals by direct contact.

Where do warts occur?
  • Warts are found on the skin of moose or caribou throughout Alaska.
  • They are most common in animals younger than 2 years old.

What are the signs of warts?
  • Affected animals are usually in good body condition.
  • Warts are often found on the head but can occur on other parts of the body.
  • In caribou and moose, the warts are dark lumps that vary in size from 1/3 to 6 inches. There may be only one or many and the surface may be rough or smooth.

How can I protect myself?
  • It is extremely rare but not impossible to get a skin lesion from infected animals.

Can I eat the meat?
  • Meat from infected animals is suitable for human consumption.
  • Trim off parts containing warts.

Samples to collect
  • Warts
  • To report an occurrence or to submit a sample for identification/analysis, contact the DWC Wildlife Disease Surveillance reporting hotline 907-328-8354, send an email to or visit your local ADF&G office.