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Reindeer | Tarvin Sands Reindeer Centre

Reindeer

We have a large group of Scandinavian Reindeers that are very friendly and will let you pet and feed them. Reindeers are also known as caribou when wild in North America.

Reindeer anatomy

Reindeers grow up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall at the shoulder and is about 6 feet (1.8 m) long. Unlike most other types of deer, both bulls (males) and cows (females) have antlers. The antlers are shed each year and regrow. Reindeer have very wide hooves, a broad muzzle, and thick brown fur. They can live up to 13 years though on average only 8 - 9 years in the Wild.

Reindeer Fur

The reindeer coat has two layers of fur, a dense woolly undercoat and longer-haired overcoat consisting of hollow, air-filled hairs. The thick fur traps air, which insulates the reindeer from the cold and helps the reindeer float in water

Sight & Smell

Reindeers have average eyesight and locate food using their keen sense of smell.

Click click click

When they walk they make a clicking noise, which is made by the tendons in their legs, this is so they can find each other in arctic blizzards.

What do they eat?

Their diet consists of lichens, twigs and any other vegetation. Reindeer are adapted for living in the harsh northern areas, browsing around the woodland edges, having a four-chambered stomach.

Where are they from?

Once found throughout the northern latitudes but after extensive hunting they’re only found in herds in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. Usually found on open tundra. Some migrate to Arctic plains for the summer. They live in herds of 10 - 1000 animals, although they can form large herds of up to 200,000.

Migration

The reindeer travels the furthest of any terrestrial mammal and can run at speeds up to 35mph. Reindeer can travel as much as 5,000 km (3,100 mi) a year. Migrations can number in the thousands. The most extensive migrations occur in spring and autumn.

Reindeer husbandry & Sami

Reindeer have been herded for centuries by several Arctic and Subarctic people including the Sami. They are raised for their meat, hides, antlers and, to a lesser extent, for milk and transportation. Reindeer are not considered fully domesticated, as they generally roam free on pasture grounds. In traditional nomadic herding, reindeer herders migrate with their herds between coast and inland areas according to an annual migration route, and herds are keenly tended. Today, in Norway, reindeer husbandry is legally protected as an exclusive Sami livelihood.

Reindeers & Christmas

No Christmas would be complete without Santa’s Reindeers, Click here to find out about hiring our Reindeer.