Reindeers

You can find reindeer (or caribou) to the north in the arctic and subarctic regions of the planet. They

like to move around a lot and rarely stay in one place for very long. They have been known to cover

up to 3,000 miles in a year. Domesticated reindeers are mostly found in northern

Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland where they were introduced by humans in the 18th century.

Reindeer was one of the earliest animals to be domesticated, possibly around 8,000 years ago.

But unlike other large domesticated animals like cattle and horses, the wild ancestor of reindeer

has survived. In Europe and Russia, reindeer have been domesticated in many areas, but continue

to roam freely. Reindeer are unique among deer in that both males and females carry antlers

that start growing within a few weeks of birth. Since reindeer shed their antlers at different

points of the year based on their sex and age. Large males can stand more than 1.2 metres

(3.9 feet) tall at the shoulder and exceed 250 kg (550 pounds) in weight; females are slightly smaller.

Reindeer have deeply cloven hoofs so the feet can spread on snow or soft ground; they are also

good swimmers. Eurasian and American forest reindeer live in family groups of 6 to 13, with seasonal ranges of 500 square km (190 square miles) or less. Summer food is grass, sedges, and green leaves of shrubs. The calf follows its mother and shares this food. Females keep their antlers all winter, which enables them to defend feeding craters from each other as well as males, which shed their antlers soon after the rut.

Fun Facts Reindeers
  • Both male and female reindeer grow antlers.

  • Reindeer are covered in hair from their nose to the bottom of their feet (hooves).

  • Reindeer are the only deer species to have hair completely covering their nose.

  • Their antlers are like our fingerprints – no two are alike.

  • A male is called a buck, a female a doe, and a baby is called a fawn.

  • They are plant-eaters.

  • They live up to 15 years

  • They are called reindeer in Europe and caribou in America.

  • Reindeer live in northern parts of Europe, North America, and Asia.