Reindeer don't fly, but they do sometimes have red noses. The reindeer are in the deer family (Cervidae) which includes deer, elk, moose and wapiti. Like others in their family, reindeers have long legs, hooves and antlers.
Reindeer are also called caribou. Reindeer also often refers to domesticated animals, while caribou refers to wild populations.
Some scientists think that the reindeer was one of the first domesticated animals. It was first domesticated around 2,000 years ago. Many Arctic societies still rely on this animal for food, clothing and materials for shelter.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are found in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern Europe and northern Asia in tundra, mountains and woodland habitats. Their home ranges tend be as big as 190 square miles.
Reindeer are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetation. Their diet can include herbs, ferns, mosses, grasses, shoots, fungi and leaves. On average, an adult reindeer eats around 9 to 18 lbs. of vegetation a day.
In the winter, reindeer must dig through the snow to find food. They dig using their antlers and munch on energy-packed lichens called reindeer moss.
Their full scientific name (Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family,Genus, and species) is Eukarya Animalia Chordata Mammalia Artiodactyla Cervidae Rangifer Rangifer tarandus.
FUN FACT: Just recently, researchers at University Of London discovered reindeer are the only mammals that can see ultraviolet light (UV).