The Caribou is a beautiful and graceful animal. It is known for its unusual striped fur and for the elegant antlers. The name Caribou comes from the Alaskan term “k Caribou” which means “mouflaged bear”. This animal is related to the polar bear and the brown bear. The name “Cadian” is related to the bear’s historic name, the “Celopard”. A large population of Caribou lives in the cold tundra areas of Alaska, Canada and Alaska along with some in the mountains of Quebec and New Brunswick in eastern Quebec.
DescriptionThe reindeer, also called caribou in North America, is a large species of animal with wide continental distribution, resident mainly in tundra and arctic areas of north, central and eastern North America. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. Mature males are around two hundred pounds and the female weighs around one hundred and fifty pounds. Deer and elk are often found together with many caribou, but man made hunting methods are responsible for the decline of this species.
Diet Caribou browses on a variety of vegetation during the wintertime. One of their sources of food is the mink, an animal primarily hunted by men. Other foods they consume include small ungulates such as rodents, birds, insects, mushrooms, roots, seeds and nuts. In addition, they eat berries, leaves, roots, seeds, and twigs.
Social Structure Caribou is social animals. Each animal has several subordinate individuals. They include leaders, who are usually younger, and younger members who are known as war leaders. War leaders usually lead groups of up to ten animals at any one time. They use sticks or claws to carry food and place calls, signaling to subordinates.
Age and Gender Caribou matures at age twelve. They have one antler each year. The antlers grow continuously throughout the life of the animal. As a part of their annual maintenance, caribou shed their antlers to make room for new ones.
Location and habitat Caribou inhabits all types of landscapes from frozen tundra to rocky coastal cliffs. They also spend a lot of time in bays, riverbeds and lakes. They prefer open habitats that offer seclusion. They are also accustomed to being surrounded by natural bushes and trees.
Food Many animals feed on vegetation such as plants, algae, fungi and seeds. Caribou carnivores, eating plant and animal tissues along with grasses, seeds and nuts. Herbivores eat fruits, roots and plant materials. Insectivores eat plant and animal materials along with grains and seeds.
Prey Several types of animals prey on Caribou. They include foxes, coyotes, bobcats, weasels, owls, badgers, manes, deer, owls, eagles and even some forms of rats and mice. Specially, animals like coyotes and bobcats who live in the area kill Caribou calves and adults during the winter. Animals that eat vegetation and plant-eater species are at a definite advantage. However, the larger animals may eat too much of these foods.
Other Facts Caribou are very tough and durable animals. They have developed a thick, insulating fur to keep them warm on long winter nights. The caribou’s thick fur also makes them very good candidates for the bush plane life. The acorns and nuts that the Caribou eat can be used by other animals as their own nourishment. They also manufacture their own natural oils that are used by other animals.