How fast can a reindeer run



What do reindeer look like?

Reindeer belong to the deer family and form the reindeer subfamily there.

They become 130 to 220 centimeters long. The shoulder height is 80 to 150 centimeters. They weigh between 60 and 315 kilograms. The males are usually much larger and heavier than the females.

Their head and torso are quite long, and their legs are relatively high. The tail short, the hooves wide.

In contrast to all other deer, the females of the reindeer also wear antlers. The males shed their antlers in autumn, the females in spring.

In both cases, the antlers then grow back again.

The bars are a little flattened. They are light in color and asymmetrically built.

This is what distinguishes the reindeer antlers from the antlers of all other deer. Overall, the antlers are very powerful in relation to the size of the animals.

The males have a throat pouch that serves as a sound amplifier. The North American and Greenlandic subspecies have a long, white mane on the underside of the neck.

Reindeer have thick fur that is different colors in summer and winter.

Where do reindeer live?

Reindeer live in the northernmost regions of Asia, Europe and North America. There they inhabit the polar and sub-polar regions.

Reindeer are found in the tundra and taiga, i.e. in the northernmost forest regions.

What species of reindeer are there?

There are around 20 different subspecies of the reindeer, but they are all very similar. These include the Northern European reindeer, the Svalbard reindeer, the tundra, the Western Canadian wood reindeer or caribou and the barren-ground caribou.

They all differ primarily in size: the so-called forest reindeer, which live mainly in the forest, are usually larger than the tundra arenas, which primarily inhabit the tundra. These usually also have a darker coat. The many different subspecies arose because reindeer live in such a large area. They have adapted to the very special environmental conditions in each case.

In Northern Europe, in addition to the tame herds of reindeer owned by the Sami, wild reindeer still live today: The largest herd of wild reindeer in Europe can be found on the so-called Hardangervidda, a plateau in southern Norway. This herd has around 10,000 animals. Otherwise, wild reindeer are very rare in Europe.

How old do reindeer get?

Reindeer live on average twelve to 15 years old. However, some animals also reach the age of 20 years or even live longer.


How do reindeer live?

Reindeer live in large herds that can number a few hundred animals - in extreme cases in Canada up to 40,000 animals.

Because they live in a climatic region with many months of snow and ice, they have to make long hikes all year round in order to find enough food.

In doing so, they sometimes cover up to 1000 kilometers and also cross large rivers, because reindeer are also good at swimming. Each herd is led by a leader.

There is another very important reason for these migrations: in the summer in the home of the reindeer there are billions of mosquitoes, especially in the humid, lower areas, which torment and poke the reindeer. The reindeer evade these pests by moving to the mountainous regions in summer, where there are fewer mosquitos.

In order for them to withstand the extreme cold of the Nordic winter, reindeer have a much thicker coat than other deer:

Three times as much hair grows on one square centimeter of skin as on our deer. In addition, the hair is hollow and filled with air. In this way, the fur forms a perfect insulating layer.

Typical of a herd of reindeer are the cracking noises that the tendons of the ankles make when walking.

Reindeer can spread their hooves widely. There are also tension membranes between the toes. The animals hardly sink in and can run well in snow or in soft, boggy ground.

The antlers are used by the males to fight ranking battles when they quarrel over the females during the mating season. It is not known why the females also wear antlers.

For the Sami in northern Scandinavia and for many other peoples in northern Asia and North America, reindeer are the basis of life. The Sami, for example, keep large herds of reindeer and move with these herds through the mountains and forests of northern Sweden, northern Norway and Finland. They live on the flesh of these animals. In earlier times they used the skins for tents and for clothing. The animals are also used as carrying and draft animals.

Today, the herds of the few reindeer herders who still exist are often tracked down by helicopter and driven into the deeper regions. In contrast to the North American caribou, the northern European reindeer are tame and used to humans.

For us, reindeer are inextricably linked with the thought of Christmas: They are considered to be the draft animals of Santa's sleigh.

Friends and enemies of the reindeer

Wolves and other predators such as wolverines, foxes, lynxes and birds of prey can be particularly dangerous for young, sick or old reindeer. The greatest enemy, however, is humans, who hunted these animals heavily, especially in North America.

How do reindeer breed?

The rutting season is from August to the beginning of November, depending on the region. Then the male reindeer fight with their rivals and try to conquer as many females as possible.

A young usually comes into the world 192 to 246 days after mating, around mid-May. Two boys are less common.

The earlier a calf is born, the better it can thrive: then it has more time to grow and become big and strong until the beginning of winter. The animals become sexually mature at around one and a half years of age.

How do reindeer communicate?

During the rutting season, the male reindeer make organizing to grunting noises.


What do reindeer eat?

The food of the reindeer is meager: they mainly eat the reindeer lichen, which still grows on the ground and the rocks of the polar regions even in the coldest climates. The reindeer dig these lichens out of the deepest snow with their hooves.

They also eat other lichens, grasses and bushes. This difficult to digest food is initially only roughly chewed.

Later, the animals choke up the food and ruminate it - similar to cows.