ANIMAL: Reindeer Rangifer Tarandus Type of Animal: Deer Habitat: Tundra, mountainous areas, boreal forest/taiga, subarctic areas, grassland Location(s): N. Europe & N. Asia w/ populations in Greenland, Scotland & E. Iceland. Farmed in Alaska. Feral populations in Alaska. Appearance: 1 of 2 deer in which bulls & cows have antlers (other being caribou), grayish-brownish coat w/ white areas, bigger antlers on bull. Food/Diet: Grasses, herbs, leaves, shrubs, lichens, shoots, twigs, mosses, mushrooms, willows, birches, sedges, cotton grass, bark, berries, fruit, lemmings, birds eggs, arctic char Status in Wild: Stable, semi-domesticated/domesticated in many areas Conservation: Breeding on farms, zoos, & wildlife parks. Farmed for meat, hide, & use as pack/draught animals. Lifestyle: Herds of 30-1,000. Bulls gather harems during rut (breeding season). Additional Info: Called: Male-Bull Female-Cow Young-Calf Group-Herd Weight: Male-143-520 lbs Female-121-308 lbs Young-10-20 lbs Gestation: 7.5 months Life Span: 13-15 years Height: Male-3.7 ft Female-3.4 ft Body Length: Male-6-7 ft Female-5.3-6.75 ft Tail Length: 6-8.4 in Main predators of adults are wolves, bears, lynx, wolverines, & Greenland sharks. Golden eagles prey on calves. Fights between bulls usually ritualized but deaths have occurred due to locked antlers resulting in starvation & exhaustion of both participants. 4th largest deer species. Hooves adapt to season. Sponge-like in summer when tundra soft & wet, hooves shrink & tighten in winter when tundra icy. Can run up to 50 mph. Very good sense of smell. Like other deer, antlers shed annually. Bull antlers hardest during rut & shed after rut, growing back in March or April. Cows shed theirs in summer. Source of food/hide in many Northern cultures. Believed to have been first domesticated between Bronze & Iron Ages. Very well-adapted for frigid weather, handling temps as low as -50 F w/ ease. Fun Fact(s): Shown often in Scandinavian heraldry/symbols. All Santa’s reindeer are female (including Rudolph), since only females keep antlers for winter. Sled/sleigh races very popular in winter in much of their range. Calves able to run within hours after birth. Normally well mannered, bulls in rut & cows w/ calves can be aggressive.
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