Unlike Santa, elves or even clean coal, reindeer are real. They may not fly, but there’s a good deal of truth around the Mama Elf Shirt Matching Christmas Family Caring Xmas Langarmshirt Shirt of Christmas’s favorite animal. Yes, they do live in extremely cold conditions. Yes, they are known to pull sleds. And, yes, their noses really do turn a shade of red given the right conditions. First off, caribou and reindeer essentially are the same animal and are classified as the same species (Rangifer tarandus). They are also both part of the deer family, or cervidae, which also includes deer, elk and moose. However, there are subtle differences. “Reindeer” is often used to describe the domesticated animals, the ones that are herded and employed by humans to pull sleds. They are also often smaller and have shorter legs than their wild brethren. In addition, the name reindeer is more often used to refer to the European variety, ones that live in Siberia, Greenland and northern Asia. The word “caribou” tends to mean the North American (meaning living in Canada and Alaska) and/or the wild variety. Because caribou are wild and reindeer are domesticated, scientists agree that most of the differences between the two are evolutionary as opposed to inherent. Caribou are larger, more active, faster and migrate further than reindeer. In fact, the caribou undertake the largest land migration of any animal in North America every year in search of better conditions and food for their young.
Antlers are the defining characteristic of Mama Elf Shirt Matching Christmas Family Caring Xmas Langarmshirt Shirt deer and Rangifer tarandus certainly have large antlers (in fact, they are the largest and heaviest antlers of any living deer species). However, there are differences between their antlers and other deer. Unlike other deer species, both male and female Rangifer tarandus can have antlers, but they possess them at different times of the year depending on gender. Males start growing them in February and shed them in November. Females start growing them in May and keep them until their calves are born sometime in the spring. This has led many to note that Santa’s reindeer (including Rudolph) would technically have to be all female because males usually shed their antlers by November- only females have them through the Christmas season. For both caribou and reindeer, cold climates are where they thrive. Covered in head to toe with hollow hairs that trap in the air and insulate from the cold, they are built for the tundra and high mountain ranges. Their hooves and footpads also are adapted for frigid temperatures, shrinking and contracting in the cold which exposes the rim of the hoof. This allows them to gain better traction by cutting into the ice and snow.