Like other deer, reindeer grow antlers which they shed during the winter or early spring. In other deer species, only the male grows antlers. Female reindeer, however, can also grow antlers, although the female’s antlers are not as big as the male’s.
Reindeer have large, wide hooves. The front hooves are bigger than the hind hooves. The hooves act like snowshoes and keep the reindeer from sinking into the snow. The large hooves and the antlers are both used to scrape away snow when the reindeer search for lichen in winter, which is the main ingredient of their diet.
The calves are born in spring when their natural habitat is still cold. Newborn calves are relatively big and are ready to move with the herd only 1 hour after birth. Reindeer cows have the richest milk of any cloven-footed animal, an adaptive feature for enabling the calves to gain weight quickly in order to survive under the harsh climatic conditions.
Lapps (indigenous people of extreme Northern Scandinavia) make use of reindeer hides and meat. In Scandinavia, domestic reindeer outnumber wild reindeer. Reindeer lived in Denmark at the end of the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago
Lichen, leaves, plants and mushrooms
6 – 10 years
Number of offspring per litter: