Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as caribou in North America, is a species of deer native to Arctic, Subarctic, tundra, boreal and mountainous regions. This includes both sedentary and migratory populations.
While overall widespread and numerous,some of its subspecies are rare and at least one has already gone extinct.
Reindeer vary considerably in colour and size. Both sexes grow antlers, though in a few populations females lack antlers completely. Antlers are typically larger in males.
Hunting of wild reindeer and herding of semi-domesticated reindeer (for meat, hides, antlers, milk and transportation) are important to several Arctic and Subarctic peoples.
The coat of the reindeer has two layers of fur: a dense woolly undercoat and longer-haired overcoat consisting of hollow, air-filled hairs.
In most populations both sexes grow antlers and it is the only cervid species in which females grow them as well as males. In the Scandinavian populations, old males' antlers fall off in December, young males' fall off in the early spring, and females' fall off in the summer. The antlers typically have two separate groups of points, a lower and upper. There is considerable subspecific variation in the size of the antlers (e.g., rather small and spindly in the northernmost subspecies),but, on average, the bull reindeer's antlers are the second largest of any extant deer, after the moose. In the largest races, the antlers of big males can range up to 100 cm in width and 135 cm in beam length. They have the largest antlers relative to body size among living deer species.
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
Distribution: Reindeer are native only in the northern hemisphere . Today, reindeer naturally widespread in Canada, Alaska, Norway , Finland, the former Soviet Union and China, and on Svalbard and Greenland.
Length : about 180 cm , shoulder height of 1m
Weight : Bucks 70 to 110 kg , females 40-70 kg .
Biology : The females are usually sexually mature when they are about 28 months old , although there are examples of females who have been mature 16 months of age.
Mating takes place in the period from August to November , depending on the habitatt. The bucks fight each other for the right to mate , and often gather a group of 15-20 females ( females ).
The doeis pregnant approx . 228 days and feeds normally only a calf , although twins have been reported. The newborn calf weighs normally between 3 and 12 kg . The calving usually takes place in May- June. Reindeer calves are precocious and are ready to suckle the mother minutes after they are born. The calf is nursed by the mother during the first month, then starts eating the grass itself.
Diet: Reindeer are herbivores that mostly feed on different kinds of leaves, lichens, mosses and fungi.
Age: Can be up to 18 years . Bucks get not as old as females. Reindeer are susceptible to predation by brown bears, in lynx, wolverines and golden eagles in Norway.