Reindeer measure about 3 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder.
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.
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.
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.
Antlers for everyone
Both male and female reindeer grow antlers. In other kinds of deer, only males have them.
One baby reindeer
A mother reindeer gives birth to a single calf in May or June, and nurses for about 6 months.