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Reindeer

on April 21, 2008; last updated April 21, 2008
Zoo Guide: mini spiral-bound

Caribou and reindeer are the same species, reindeer being a domesticated, smaller variety or caribou and classified scientifically as a subspecies.

Reindeer

Design

A reindeer is known to paw at the snow to uncover its food, even when two or three feet (0.6–0.9 m) cover the plants. How does the reindeer know to do this? God designed it this way. The reindeer’s coat is made of dense, short hair that is hollow, enabling it to hold air and shed water, making it perfect for the colder temperatures where the reindeer lives.

Features

  • Most reindeer are brown with a gray underbelly, which helps them blend into the snow during winter. Their antlers are reddish or grayish brown.
  • Caribou and reindeer are the same species, reindeer being a domesticated, smaller variety or caribou and classified scientifically as a subspecies.

Fun Facts

  • Reindeer and caribou are the only deer with fur on their nose pads.
  • These domesticated caribou are prized for their milk, meat, and leather.
  • The main food of reindeer is lichen, but they will also eat grasses along with twigs and mushrooms.

Created Kind Members

Deer, elk, moose

CLASS: Mammalia (mammal)

ORDER: Artiodactyla (even-toed hooves)

FAMILY: Cervidae (deer kind)

GENUS/SPECIES: Rangifer tarandus (9 subspecies)

Size: Vary from 3–8 ft (0.9–2.5 m), not including the antlers

Weight: 120–700 lbs (54–318 kg)

Original Diet: Plants

Present Diet: Plants

Habitat: Most occur in Scandinavia and Siberia

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