Reindeer looking straight ahead with head turned to the right

Reindeer

They like it cold

Type

Image of a giant panda

Mammals

Area

North America

North America

Endangered Status

Stable

facts

size
4 to 7 feet
length
The average bed is 6.25 feet long.
Reindeer compared in size to an average U.S. bed

Reindeer measure about 3 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder.

food
plants
leaves, lichen, fungi
plants
habitat
tundra,
mountains, woodland
Tundra habitat

description

Closeup of reindeer face with tuft of white fur along neck

Who's a caribou?

Are these big, furry, hoofed animals reindeer or caribou? The answer depends on where you live. In Europe and Asia where they have been domesticated, they are known as reindeer. People in those areas rely on reindeer to pull sleds or carry packs. In the northern parts of North America where these animals roam freely, they are called caribou. In the U.S., we use the name “reindeer” when talking about the domesticated animal.

Reindeer nibbling on leaf wreath as it stands in snow

Cool adaptations

Fur covering a reindeer’s body helps it stay warm in its very cold habitat. Reindeer even have fur on the bottom of their hooves, which helps them keep from slipping on icy ground. Their big, broad hooves also work well as paddles when the animal swims across rivers or lakes. And, their sharp hooves are used as shovels to dig into the snow to find food.

Reindeer mother with young calf

Join the herd

A reindeer calf can walk about one hour after it is born. It follows its mother, staying close to nurse and for protection. Reindeer live in big groups called a herd. In the spring, herds come together and form an even bigger group of up to 500,000 animals. Since all the females in a herd give birth at the same time of year, a reindeer calf has many friends to play reindeer games with!

Reindeer are found in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, northern Europe, and northern Asia.