Reindeer

Vulnerable
Scientific name : Rangifer tarandus

Where do they live?

In Alaska and Canada, in Lapland (northern Finland) and in Siberia (in the north of the Asia).

Did you know?

A variable gestation period

Unlike humans, some animal species can adjust the length of gestation to ensure that offspring are born in the best conditions. Reindeer, for example, can extend gestation up to two months depending on weather conditions and available food, in order to increase the chance of survival for the offspring.

Called reindeer in Scandinavia and northern Asia, it is also known as the caribou in North America. They live in boreal forests, forest tundra areas and the arctic tundra.
Reindeer have hooves resembling snowshoes which keep them from sinking into the snow. They have several adaptations allowing them to regulate their body temperature to withstand the cold winter climate. It is the only deer in which the male and the female both have antlers! Like all deer, they shed their antlers in the autumn.

Weight

Around 180 kg.

Height

1.30 m at the withers.

Average speed

It can run at 40 km/h for nearly an hour.

Maximum speed

95 km/h.

Gestation period

240 days.

Life expectancy

15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

A long history between us and them

Reindeer antlers have been used for making tools since prehistoric times. Neanderthals and European early modern humans lived together with reindeer and drew representations of the animal!
In Lapland, Finland still today, people train reindeer to pull sleds (just like Father Christmas)! Some human populations live alongside reindeer, using them for milk, fur and meat.