Would you believe that not all reindeer live at the North Pole? It’s true!
In fact, reindeer can be found in Northern Asia, Europe, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. In North America, reindeer are called “caribou.”
Reindeer live together in herds. Large herds may contain thousands of reindeer.
Reindeer are a nomadic species, which means they constantly move from place to place. In one year, a herd of reindeer can travel up to 3,000 miles!
Reindeer have adapted in many ways to survive the cold temperatures of their habitats. For example, a reindeer’s coat has two layers. A soft wool under-layer lies against its skin. Long, hollow “guard hairs” form the top layer.
Air inside the guard hairs traps heat close to the body, keeping the reindeer warm even in the frigid, windy temperatures of the tundra. The guard hairs also prevent body heat from escaping and melting the snow if the reindeer lies down, keeping it from getting wet and cold.
A reindeer’s nose also plays an important part in its survival. Since reindeer live in areas where food often hides under the snow, they rely on a super sense of smell to find their dinner.
Once a reindeer has sniffed out its supper, it uses its special hooves to scoop and dig through the snow to plants and food underneath.
Both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Each year the antlers fall off, and the next year the reindeer grow even bigger antlers. Both male and female reindeer use their antlers to defend against predators.