While visiting the Columbus zoo back in August of 2015, our group came across real live living reindeer. The person attending the deer entertained the children by telling these reindeer fly the sleigh for Santa Claus. I got a good laugh at the oh’s and ah’s coming from the children. It is so much fun to make-believe and have something to believe in.
Reindeer is a species of deer also known as a “caribou”. They tend to be found in colder climates through the North America, Northern Europe, and Siberia.
Reindeer vary is size and color per their species. As there are 14 known different species of reindeer. Both females and males grow antlers. Males grow larger antlers. Males weight range from 351 lbs to 401 lbs. Females weigh less between the range of 180 lbs and 260 lbs. Depending on the species of reindeer and where they are from will depend on their size and height. Their eyes change colors with the seasons.
They are hunted and semi – domesticated raised for their hides, meat, milk, antlers, and transportation. As they are often used to pull sleighs or wagons. Man being their main predator to date. Calves fall prey to Golden Eagles. Wolverines will take birthing reindeer and calves. Polar bears and Brown bears will attack reindeer of any size or age. Gray wolves will follow a herd and feed off all year-long. They are the main predators right underneath humans.
Reindeer have four chambered stomachs. They tend to eat lichens, reindeer moss, leaves from willow or birch trees, sedges and most grasses. In the spring when reindeer are nutritionally stressed. They will eat eggs, lemmings and arctic fish. Or mushrooms in late summer.
Mating season occurs from September to November. males will stop eating during mating season. Males will lock antlers to try to push the other away. The more dominant reindeer with get to mate. By collecting as many as 15 to 20 females to a herd to mate.
Baby reindeer are known as calves. They are born in the May through June. At 45 days old the calves are introduced to grazing. However, they continue to get milk from their mothers till autumn. When they become independent from their mothers.
Photos from Pixabay,
a free use photo website.