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.


10 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (28 votes, avg. 4.50 out of 5)
  1. For the past several weeks we have been learning about white-tailed deer. We read this Wonder because we wanted to know if female caribou have antlers. This Wonder answered our question. We really enjoyed the video of the reindeer. One topic we have been talking about in class is whether hunting is good or bad. Why is deer hunting good?

    • We’re so glad your question was answered by exploring this Wonder together, Mrs. Ranger’s Class! Thank you for letting us know that you liked the video, too! There are different opinions out there about whether deer hunting is good or bad. Both sides of the issue are very passionate about their beliefs! :-)

  2. Wow! What great information. We are trying to find out all about the reindeer and other animals that live near the North Pole.
    We were amazed to find out how far reindeer can travel in just 1 year.
    Mrs Grady and the GRady’s Greats (in Australia)

    • WOHOO, we’re so excited that our Wonder Friends, Grady’s Greats, are using their imaginations to take a trip to the North Pole! We are amazed at the cool things we’ve learned about reindeer, too! Thanks for sharing your comment with us, Wonder Friends! We hope to see you soon! :)

    • Hi Morgan! Thanks for WONDERing with us! Reindeer eat all types of things-even plants! Have you ever seen a reindeer? Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  3. Good morning, Wonderopolis.

    We learned several things about reindeer today. We learned that reindeer don’t just live at the north pole. We also learned that reindeer have two layers that help keep them warm. Finally, we learned that their antlers help defend them against predators.

    We wondered how reindeer and regular deer are different and the same. We also wondered if reindeer and moose are related. One student wondered how the reindeer fly.

    Have a WONDERful day, Wonderopolis!

    • Hi Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class! We’re so excited that you’re back WONDERing with us! Wow, what WONDERful WONDERS! Has anyone ever seen a reindeer? That would be WONDERful! Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • Do reindeer live outside the North Pole?
  • How do reindeer survive the cold weather where they live?
  • Do all reindeer have antlers?

Wonder Gallery

Wonder #82- Reindeer Static Image2Vimeo Video

Try It Out

With just a few special ingredients and a little imagination, you can create your own magic reindeer food in a jar! Reindeer won’t be the only animals who appreciate discovering a winter snack sprinkled on your lawn — rabbits, squirrels and birds will enjoy this tasty treat, too!


Still Wondering

Learn more about caribou and map the migration route of the Porcupine caribou herd of Alaska and northwestern Canada with National Geographic Xpeditions’ Caribou Migration lesson plan.


Wonder Categories/Tags

Wonder What’s Next?

What’s that up in the sky? Hint: It’s not Rudolph’s red nose! Return to Wonderopolis tomorrow and we promise you’ll see the night sky in a whole new light.

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.