Home For the Holidays
The Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is also commonly known as the caribou. They are widely dispersed throughout the Arctic and Subarctic regions from Russia to North America (for us New Englanders, they are even found in Maine!). Today the largest densities of Reindeer are found in Canada, Alaska, Finland and Siberia.
Reindeer are classified within two major groups:
1. Tundra Reindeer and
2. Woodland Reindeer
These two groups and their associated sub-species vary greatly in color and size. However, both male and female Reindeer grow antlers in most sub-species. Antlers in some bull* Reindeers can grow as large as 53 inches in length.
*What does that mean?
- Bull: A male Reindeer is called a bull.
- Ruminants: Ruminants are mammals that digest plant foods by using the first stomach to soften the food. This softened food known as cud is then chewed again and re-digested. This process is called ruminating. The word ruminant comes from the Latin "to chew again."