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Mammal. Caribou and reindeer are the same species. They are the only deer whose males and females both have antlers. The antlers grow forward and the caribou use them in the winter to dig through snow for food. Some caribou migrate more than 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles) per year. Their concave-shaped hooves are adapted for deep snow, holding the caribou up like snowshoes. In water, their hooves act as paddles. Caribou have been clocked running as fast as 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. A caribou sensing danger gives off a special scent that warns other caribou to keep their distance.
Scientific Name Lifespan
Rangifer tarandus caribou 7-15 years
Herbivore. Lichens, plants, and grasses.
Predators and Threats
Wolves, bears, golden eagles, lynx, wolverines, and humans.
Mature or old growth coniferous forests associated with bogs, lakes, and rivers; Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia. A small, endangered caribou herd exists in northern Idaho and northwest Montana.