Reindeer

Reindeer

REINDEER Rangifer tarandus

Origin:  North America, Northern Europe and Asia

In Canada and Alaska wild reindeer are called caribou, while in Europe and Asia they are called reindeer. Reindeer are a member of the deer family. There are seven subspecies of reindeer. They live in the arctic tundra of North America, Northern Europe and Asia. Reindeer eat grass, lichens and plants and migrate to follow their food supply.

Reindeer have several great adaptations that help them live in the cold and snow. They have large, curved hooves that act as snowshoes in winter. Reindeer are excellent swimmers, in part because their hooves act as paddles when they swim. Reindeer also have large, furry noses to warm the cold air before it gets to their lungs and a very dense, double layered fur coat to protect them from the coldest weather.

Both male and female reindeer have antlers. The bulls (males) lose their antlers in late fall/early winter. Females lose theirs in the late spring, after they have had their calves.