Rangifer tarandus, commonly caribou reindeer or simply reindeer, belongs to mammals and is a member of the family Cervidae.
Reindeer body is black to white, but the color may vary from season to season and even in subspecies. The color of the body is brown in summers. The southern populations are darker, while the north side populations are white.
The reindeer coat has two layers: the hollow hair overcoat, and beneath this is an undercoat composed of dense, long hair.
Male reindeer are larger and bulkier than females, the average body weight is about 250 kg, and the reindeer may have a height of 5 feet.
Svalbard reindeer is the smallest in size, and its size is only 80 cm.
Both male and female reindeer have antlers, antlers grow, and this growth process is called antlerogenesis; females grow their antlers in May while male grow their antlers in March.
It is a dark brown vascularized skin; velvet grows over the antlers, and once the antler is fully hardened, it is shed off.
Reindeer have crescent-shaped cloven hooves, which not only carry most of their body weight but also help them to walk in snow.
Reindeer are present in arctic and subarctic regions and are distributed across Russia, Greenland, Europe, Northern China, Mongolia, Canada, Scandinavia, Alaska, and Northern America.
Reindeer separated during winter and concentrated during the spring for the migration. Their food varies from season to season. Reindeer are ruminates and have a four-chambered stomach.
In winters, reindeers take highly carbohydrate food, as their metabolism slows down, and they feed on reindeer moose (lichens). They recycle their urea, which helps them survive despite low protein food. They eat grass, shrubs, birch, mushrooms, larch, willow, and sedges in the summer.
Reindeer are osteophagous, as they consume the shed antlers when food is less.
Reindeer has two varieties or ecotypes, and these are,
Most people assume that reindeer and caribou are the same animals, but there are some differences between the two which are listed below,
Reindeer hunting season is from May to December, with September and October being most important. Most hunters focus on hunting reindeer immediately after the rut as in this period antlers are in prime shape, and after this, reindeer shed the antlers.
Hunting arctic reindeer one of the basic methods is stalking, ambushing, and attacking. Stalking may be a bit adventurous as it may make reindeer conscious; ambushing in herds is fruitful when reindeer are migrating.
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