“Facts, Information & Pictures – All You Need to Know

Image Source Caribou is a wild species of deer often called reindeer when domesticated. They belong to a large group of hoofed ungulates called artiodactyls, which also includes camels and giraffes.

They are found in the arctic tundra regions of North America, Asia, northern Europe, Alaska and Greenland. Caribou can also be seen in subarctic boreal forests during migration, where they take refuge in coastal areas windward of flies and mosquitoes. The scientific name for a caribou is “Rangifer tarandus” Caribou Description The caribou is well adapted to its environment.

Caribou are large even-toed mammals that measure 1.2 – 2.2 meters (4 – 7.25 feet) in length and stand 1.2 – 1.5 meters (4 – 5 feet) at the shoulder.

Their rumps and chests are white and they have blunt muzzles covered with hair and short tails. Caribou have long legs and broad, flat hooves that act like snowshoes to help them walk on snow and soft ground.

Caribou hooves are hollow underneath, which allows them to dig through snow when foraging. Caribou are the only species of deer where both the male and female have antlers, but some females are antlerless.

Males have larger and more branched horns than females, which can extend in size to over 1 meter (3.25 feet).

During the “runt” season, the velvet on the males’ horns disappears. Males use their horns to fight each other for access to females.

Males shed their antlers after the mating season is over and females lose their antlers during the breeding season.

When a caribou is antlered between April and August, when it is in the “velvet” stage, it loses blood flow to the antlers and the velvet. Caribou have two circulatory systems in their body.

Caribou have hollow hairs rooted in a thick layer of fat also to conserve heat during freezing temperatures. twigs, moss and lichen known as reindeer moss.

When food is plentiful, an adult caribou can eat up to 5-6 kilograms of food per day.

Because caribou can eat large amounts of food, they increase their internal heat production to prevent freezing in extreme weather conditions.

Herds of thousands of animals complete a round migration journey of more than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) visiting spring calving grounds and summer and winter feeding grounds.

During migration, herds of cows (female caribou) leave several weeks before the males, who follow with yearling calves from the previous calving season. Caribou move from region to region, driven by the seasonal availability of the tundra plants they feed on.

During the winter months, caribou move into the subarctic boreal forests, where the snowpack is less than in the open tundra.

Here, they can use their broad hooves to dig and graze on the lichen beneath the snow. Herds of caribou can run very fast reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour during migration.

Caribou herds tend to be larger during the spring migration and smaller during the fall when mating occurs. Male caribou fight during the rutting season, which can result in serious injuries such as cuts and bruises.

The worst that can happen is that their horns can jam, and caribou that can’t unlock their horns will starve.

Herds of snorting caribou can sound like a pack of pigs.

Groups of cows and newborn calves are especially vocal because they are constantly communicating with each other. Caribou predators include wolves, grizzly and black bears, cougars, bobcats, lynx, coyotes, and golden eagles.

Males fight for access to females.

The most dominant males can gather up to 15 – 20 females to mate with.

A male will stop eating during this time and will lose much of his body reserves. Births occur in May or June of the following year on indoor calving grounds, after a gestation period of 45 days.

One calf is born each year, twins are rare. Fawns can run soon after birth, however, a large number succumb to predators, especially gray wolves, which follow migrating herds and follow birthing sites in search of easy prey.

The lifespan of a caribou is about 15 years in the wild. Caribou Conservation Status Despite their large numbers, caribou are an endangered species.

Caribou have very warm, very soft fur that is hollow, insulated, and sheds water and snow.

The main factors leading to caribou decline are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and predation.

Loss of caribou habitat, which is permanent, occurs when forest is cleared for agriculture.

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