The Caribou, also called caribou in North America and Canada, is the graceful species of big deer with wide circumpolar distribution, inhabiting tundra, sub-arctic, tundra and mountainous areas of north and western Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Labrador and the Greenland region. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. They live in thick forests, using scents and sight to guide them from location to location. These animals have a very large hunting range, including vast areas in extreme climates and mountain ranges.
Caribou usually inhabit coastal areas, but they can also be found in mountainous regions. Males reach a maximum weight of 225 lbs., with females following at a minimum of 160 lbs. Their horns grow into sharp points but hairless. Their eyes are set far apart and their ears move back in response to airborne sound. Their tongues are long and powerful. Their teeth are strong and their feet are webbed.
Caribou tend to be less social than other large herbivores. They live alone or in pairs in arctic shrubs and brush along the shore. Caribou usually bear young once they have grown to about two years of age.
In winter, male Caribou wander forage for food in arctic tundra. In spring, they migrate south for the summer mating season, when they mate with females from other areas. calf size ranges from eight months to one year. Mother rearing is about one-year-old.
Caribou herds tend to be isolated from each other. Each herd has its own territory and no other animals are allowed in. A Caribou’s territory will overlap other groups, causing them to fight with them until they are able to establish a separate territory. This means that a single pair will hunt and kill most of the other animals living in the area. They also eat other animals that stray into their territory.
Caribou rarely travel long distances. Hibernation helps them avoid being seen by humans. They are very elusive and travel at a very slow pace. Caribou can be seen only through the winter months.
A large part of the time, Caribou live in arctic tundra. The arctic is a permanent climate that does not change much through the year. The plants and animals that they feed on are frozen during the winter and grow slowly all through the following year. During the summer, they move to calving grounds. Caribou feed while eating vegetation that grows on their hind legs. This helps them avoid getting their hooves stuck in thawing snow.
Caribou are herbivores. They eat plants, seeds, grasses and bark. They are also prey animals for some animals, such as birds, fish and insects. They have a wide variety of food to eat, depending on what they are hunting.
Caribou are social animals. They live in family packs called flocks. Flocks of Caribou usually travel in large groups, called flotillas. They also hunt together and pursue different activities. Hunting and traveling take up most of the time of a Caribou’s day.