Caribou
Classification

Kingdom:

Phylum:

Class:

Order:

Family:

Genus:

Species:

Animalia

Chordata

Mammalia

Artiodactyla

Cervidae

Rangifer

tarandus
IUCN Status: Lower Risk
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Caribou.
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Information


    Located

    The Caribou, or Reindeer, is located in northern countries such as
    Canada, Russia, Greenland, Finland, Norway and Sweden.  It can also
    be found in the state of Alaska.    

    Diet

    The diet of the Caribou varies as the seasons change.  In the
    summertime, when vegetation is more plentiful, Caribou will feed on a  
    variety of plants including willow leaves.  In the wintertime, Caribou will
    use their hooves to dig through snow to get to moss and other lichens
    that lie beneath the arctic surface.  

    Habitat

    Caribou are migratory animals and are known for mass migrations
    across the tundra in search of food.  Caribou are well adapted to living
    in the tundra with thick fur and skin that enable them to enter frigid
    rivers while migrating.  The hooves of caribou are wide to assist
    supporting it on surfaces such as mud and snow, and wide hooves will
    also help the caribou to dig and swim.

    Size and Description

    Female Caribou will weigh about 200 pounds, and can weigh as little
    as 180 pounds as adults.  Males weigh about twice as much on
    average but can weigh up to as much as 600 pounds.  Caribou will
    stand from 35 - 55 inches at the shoulder.  Males and females both
    have antlers and will shed their antlers at different times in the year,
    older males losing theirs after the mating season and females losing
    theirs in the summer.   

    Reproduction

    The mating season, or rut, occurs in fall and the calving season occurs
    in spring when the female will give birth to usually one calf.  
Notes
  • Natural predators of Caribou include wolves and grizzly bears.    
  • Reindeer are first mentioned as pulling Santa's sleigh in an 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas".
  • Caribou are raised for meat, milk, transportation and other uses.
  • Caribou are sometimes referred to as the "Camels of the Tundra" due to their adaptations to the extremely cold
    environment and their ability to provide transportation.
(Rangifer tarandus)
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