photo by Samuel Brinker CC BY-NC

Caribou are very large deer (4-5 ft). They have brown fur fading to off-white around the neck with a white tail, muzzle, and socks. Both males and females have antlers. The males shed their antlers after mating, while the females keep theirs until they have given birth to help them defend their feed and site while nourishing their babies.

The Caribou's hollow-hair fur covers almost the entire body, including the nose, providing insulation in winter and buoyancy in water. Their large hooves support their weight when walking on snow and serve as paddles when swimming. They mate in November/December and the young are born in June.

Could it be? Woodland Caribou live in Canada's northern boreal forests and are the largest and darkest of the Caribou. Barren-Ground Caribou are slightly smaller and lighter colored. They are found farther north from Alaska to Baffin Island. A small population of Peary Caribou can be found in the Arctic. Reindeer are close relatives of the Caribou but are only found in Russia and Scandinavia.

Did you know? Scientists believe that the Caribou's ancestors lived in South America, migrating north across the Isthmus of Panama 5 million years ago.

See Also: Elk, Moose