Caribou are mammals that live in the northern regions of Europe, North America, Asia, and Greenland. When snow begins to fall, caribou move south and travel to more sheltered climes where they can feed on moss or lichens.
- Common Name:
- Caribou (Reindeer)
- Scientific Name:
- Rangifer tarandus
- Group Name:
- Average Life Span In The Wild:
- 15 years
- 4 to 5 feet at the shoulder
- 240 to 700 pounds
These members of the deer family dig for food using their large hooves. The underside of each hoof is hollowed out like a big scoop and allows the caribou to dig through snow in search of food.
Caribou trek north in the summer in one of the largest animal migrations on Earth. They travel more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) along well-traveled routes. They spend the summer feeding on grasses, mushrooms, and plants in the tundra. They begin to move south in the winter and over one year they will have migrated over 1,600 miles (2,574 kilometers). One adult caribou eats about 12 pounds (5 kilograms) of food each day. Caribou are hunted by Indigenous northern people throughout much of their range. Woodland caribou are listed as endangered, but other caribou populations are stable.