Category: North American Mammals
Facts about Caribou, "Scientific name for Caribou is Rangifer tarandus". "Caribou" is a Rangifer type of reindeer that comes from the Cervidae family. The Caribous are the only deer variety whose females and males contain antlers. The antlers raise forward and the Caribou use them during the winter season to excavate through snow for food. Some caribou animals wander in excess of 3,000 miles per year. Their bowl-shaped hooves are tailored for deep snow, holding the caribou up similar to snowshoes. In water, the hooves of the Caribous function as paddles. The Caribous have been clocked running 50 miles per hour (80 km/ph). When a caribou detects danger, it gives off a unique scent that cautions other caribou to maintain their distance.
Features of Caribou
A mature Caribou will have a body length, ranging from 71 inches to 84 inches (180.3 to 213.3 cm) and a breadth of 39 inches (99 cm), with bigger antlers relative to their body size. The Caribou have a body mass that ranges between 361 pounds to 401 pounds (163.7 to 181.9 kg), with a varied color fur that varies significantly, both independently and according to the season and subspecies. The Peary caribou variety is smaller in size, with a white color fur, whereas the Woodland Caribou have dark brown color fur, with unique areas of white color fur. The infertile-ground caribou in Alaska have more grey color on their body than the woodland caribou. Usually, the coat of Caribou animals has two layers of hair, a longer-haired overcoat and thick woolly undercoat, consisting of hollow, air-packed hairs.
Similar to moose, caribou animals contain specialized snouts, with nasal turbinate bones that noticeably boost the surface area inside the nostrils. Incoming chilly air is warmed by the body heat of the Caribou earlier than entering the lungs, and water is reduced from the perished air and captured earlier than the breath of the Caribou is exhaled. This is used to dampen the dehydrated incoming air and probably absorbed into the blood in the course of the mucous membranes.
Their hooves of the caribou animals are greatly adapted to the season such that during the summer season, when the tundra is wet and soft, the footpads become similar to a sponge and offer additional traction. During the winter season, the pads of the Caribou contract and tighten, revealing the border of the hoof that cuts into the ice and covered snow to keep it from skidding. In the winter, the plump pads on their toes develop longer and form a hard, rim similar to a horn. Caribou makes use of these big pointed-edged hooves to excavate through the snow and expose the lichens that continue them during winter months.
Diet of Caribou
Caribou animals are ruminants and they have a four-chambered abdomen. The Caribou mostly feed on lichens during winter, particularly reindeer moss, the only big animal competent to metabolize lichen due to particular protozoa and bacteria in their gut. The Caribou also feed on the leaves of birches and willows, including grasses and sedges.
Reproduction of Caribou
While the weather gets cool during the fall, caribou animals would depart their summer grounds, forming huge herds and wander south for the winter. The Caribou will begin mating when big lakes are frozen over. Just before mating, the male caribou will be in prime form, fat and will prepare to fight for mates. Bulls at this instant are more violent and they were usually unaccompanied. Male caribou use their antlers to vie with other male Caribous during the mating period. Subsequent to the mating period, the male caribou will shed his antlers, growing a fresh pair the next summer with a bigger rack than the preceding year.
The average lifespan of the Caribou reindeer ranges from 7 years to 15 years.