Reindeer Fast Facts
Meet Pringles and Patata! Reindeer are an incredibly hardy species that can be found throughout the Northern Arctic regions. Reindeer are constantly on the move in search of food, they can travel over 3000 miles each year. They are completely covered in thick fur, designed to trap air close to the body, to keep them warm and aid buoyance when swimming. Reindeer hooves are covered in fur to stop them slipping on ice and are also split into four to evenly distribute out their weight when walking on mud and ice.
Food can be difficult to find in their winter habitats. They will eat mosses, herbs, ferns, grasses, shoots, leaves, lichens and fungi. They use their hooves and antlers to scrape back snow to find food. Reindeer have specialised digestive enzymes in their stomach to break down these tough foods, and can eat up to 8kg of food per day.
Reindeer travel in large herds, containing over 500,000 individuals during the spring. Males will compete to win breeding rights to the females, known as rutting. Males use their antlers, and charge head on, clashing together with their antlers, Fights are fierce and often result in death. The females give birth to one calf, although twins have been recorded. Calves can stand at one hour old, and can outrun at human after 1 day! They quickly grow in size and strength by drinking their mothers' rich milk, and beginning to eat solid food at one week old.
Threats + Conservation
Reindeer are listed as VULNERABLE on the IUCN Red List. Their populations are currently declining due to habitat destruction from mining, logging, livestock and agriculture. Warming temperatures are linked to many changes in the Arctic, including reduced sea ice, melting permafrost and rising sea levels. These are causing a reduction in habitats and available food for the reindeer. We can all help by reducing our impact on climate change. Simple changes such as taking shorter showers, and switching off unused plugs can help contribute towards reducing global warming.
1. A reindeer are called reindeer worldwide, except in North America where they are instead called Caribou. 2. Both Male and Female reindeer have antlers, they are the only deer species where both genders have antlers. 3. Reindeer eye colour changes during the seasons. This allows them to see in UltraViolet light during the dark months.