Artiodactyla: Even-toed Ungulates
- 2.2 m (4 - 7 1/4 ft), tail: 10 - 21 cm (4 - 8 1/4 in)
Northern Europe and Asia: Scandinavia to Siberia; Alaska, Canada, Greenland
divided into several species, all caribou and reindeer, including the domesticated
reindeer, are now considered races of a single species. The races vary
in coloration from almost black to brown, gray and almost white.
caribou is the only deer in which both sexes have antlers, although those
of the female are smaller.The antlers are unique in that the lowest, forward-pointing
tine is itself branched.
are gregarious and gather in herds with their young, but adult males are
often solitary. In autumn, males fight to gather harems of 5 to 40
or so females. The female produces 1, occasionally 2, young after a gestation
of about 240 days. Young caribou are able to run with the herd within a
few hours of birth.
populations migrate hundreds of miles between their breeding grounds on
the tundra and winter feeding grounds farther south. Grass and other tundra
plants are their main food in summer, but in winter caribou feed mainly
on lichens, scraping away
the snow with their hoofs to expose the plants.