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Wildlife of the North: Arctic Reindeer

22 October 2020
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The Crowned Heirs of the Arctic Kingdom 

Arctic reindeer – who are they? Who are these majestic creatures with a crown on their heads? We see reindeer as the ones who pull Santa Claus’ sleigh with Christmas presents for children. 

But in reality, these incredible animals can be true royal heirs of the Arctic realm. And not only antlers are associated with everything royal. Imagine that you finally met an arctic reindeer. So, what are you going to witness? You’ll see a wonderful yet magnificent creature who strolls along snowy trails with gracious moves. This fantastic scene amazes you so that you instinctively grab your camera and capture a shot of this amazing animal. 

If you’ve fascinated with reindeers and know everything about them, read further to discover curious facts about the crowned heirs of the Arctic land! 

Arctic Reindeer | Ragnar blog

Reindeer and Caribou: Are They the Same? 

Although reindeer and caribou belong to the same category of species – Rangifer tarandus, there is a slight difference between them. Caribou’s birthland is North America, while reindeer come from Northern Europe and Asia. People often get these two animals confused. Sometimes we think that reindeer are more domesticated than caribou. But it’s not always true. Both caribou and reindeer are wild animals who can migrate for long distances. 

Where Do Reindeer Live? 

The rigid polar region is home to arctic reindeer. Their living habitat includes the areas of North America, Northern Europe, and Siberia. So, how can you recognize a reindeer? These wonderful arctic mammals have hooves and antlers that make them crowned animals of the North Pole. 

Some subspecies of the arctic reindeer create clicking noises with their knees. It helps them to stay connected in a windy blizzard. There is also one curious fact about reindeer – they have their unique voices and can communicate within a herd. 

Where Do Reindeer Live | Ragnar blog

What Do Reindeer Eat?

Surviving in rigid arctic conditions is hard. And for animals, who are herbivores, and eat mainly plants, it might get even more challenging. The arctic reindeer aren’t the exception here. For them, icy cold winters are one of the hardest seasons. Reindeer should find some grass to graze, sweeping away ice and snow with their antlers. To feed themselves, they migrate and travel long distances (more than 600 miles every year). 

Mushrooms, mosses, fungi, and leaves are also included in their diet. So, if you want to bring something yummy for reindeer, take carrots or apples with you as they love these sweet treats. 

Crowned Heirs of the Arctic Kingdom | Ragnar blog

How Many Species of Reindeer Exist?

There are 14 subspecies of reindeer, and two of them are extinct (Dawson’s and East Greenland caribou). During your trip around the Arctic, you have a unique chance to see the most frequent guests of this region – Svalbard reindeer. They are quite small, with a size between 1.5-1.6 meters and a weight of 65 kg on average. Svalbard reindeer have brown fur on the back and white one on the belly, which sets them apart from other species.You can easily spot them among snowy hills and take a beautiful photo of these lovely mammals. 

Species of Reindeer | Ragnar blog

Do Reindeer Have a Red Nose? 

Perhaps each of you watched the cartoon or read a book about Rudolph, a reindeer with a red nose. However, once you surf the net to look reindeer’ photos, rarely can we find these animals with red-colored noses. So, do reindeer have them in reality? Yes, they do. Scientists discovered that reindeer have more 25 percent nasal capillaries than humans. It helps them regulate body temperature in the conditions of icy-cold weather in the Arctic. 

Reindeer red nose | Ragnar blog

How a Climate Change Affects Reindeer? 

Climate change takes a toll on reindeer. In 2019, about 200 reindeer were found dead near Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. A similar death toll happened only once in 2007. Global warming harms the Arctic fauna. With more rains in the region, the land is covered by a thick layer of ice, which is difficult for reindeer to graze herbs. 

How a Climate Change Affects Reindeer | Ragnar blog

Do Female Reindeer Have Antlers?

Reindeer are truly crowned animals. Both males and females do have antlers – branched ornaments that cover their heads. Reindeer are the only deer species that have them. They use antlers to sweep the snow and ice from the ground to find food. There is one interesting fact about reindeer: males shed antlers in late autumn after the rut, whilst females keep them until spring. 

See Arctic Reindeer With Ragnar!

Do you dream about seeing the arctic reindeer in your life? Ragnar makes your dream come true. We organize numerous arctic trips every year. Get familiar with our tours and embark on the unforgettable journey around the North Pole with us! 

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