Nomads of the Great North
The domestic reindeer is very similar to the forest reindeer. One notable difference is the fact that the domestic reindeer is farmed by man. Reindeers are used as draught or pack animals (to carry heavy loads) among others by the Sami people, who are native to Northern Europe.
The reindeer is a hardy animal, capable of surviving extremely cold temperatures of up to -40° C as well as surviving in areas where food is scarce.
Reindeer love feeding on moss and lichen, and use their hooves as shovels to dig up their favourite foods. Reindeer are capable of perceving ultraviolet light (which is invisible to man). This unique skill allows them to make out food as well as spot predators hidden in the snowy landscapes which are their main habitat.
Both male and female reindeer have antlers. The males use their antlers to battle their competitors during the mating season.
The reindeer is a gregarious animal, which means it lives in herds. During the winter, it migrates and travels to southern, warmer climates. The larger herds sometimes travel up to 5.000 km to reach their wintering area. The older females guide the herd because they are familiar with the traditional migration routes. Sometimes the older females are killed by hunters or predators along the way, which causes the herd to be disoriented and lose its bearings, which in turn threatens its survival.
Did you know that?
The domestic reindeer feeds on plants, tree bark, mushrooms, moss... but it has a clear preference for lichens, which are very rich in nutrients.
Male and female carry antlers. The male loses them in winter while those of the female fall in spring. Santa's reindeer are all female!
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