Do Female Reindeer Have Antlers? Here's How To Identify Them | Kidadl


Do Female Reindeer Have Antlers? Here's How To Identify Them

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Reindeer, sometimes known as caribou in North America, is a species within the deer family.

Reindeer live in the Arctic tundra and the neighboring open woodlands of Greenland, Sweden, Russia, Norway, and Alaska. In Europe, reindeer have already been tamed.

There are two types of reindeer: tundra reindeer and forest reindeer. Tundra reindeer travel among the tundra and forest with herds of up to five hundred thousand in a yearly cycle, and they can travel up to 1864.2 mi (3000 km). Forest reindeer are far more scarce. In North America, reindeer are termed caribou. When reindeer or caribou obtain adequate nutrition and survive to be a year or two old, they are called yearlings. Males never fight for females before their fourth season.

Tundra males gather with thousands of females for the fall or autumn migration and visually analyze the antler size of other males, thereby avoiding significant battles. Forest reindeer, on the other hand, defend specific harems and fight more fiercely. In both types of reindeer, there is a seven and a half month gestation period, after which a single calf is delivered in May or June. Rangifer tarandus is the scientific name for reindeer. Caribou calves can grow quickly on their mother's milk.

After the first month, calves can eat raw natural crop and by three months, they can already thrive if their mother passes away. However, separation usually occurs between the ages of five and six months. Wolves, bears, and lynx may wipe out half of all the calves birthed for meat. In the wild, the lifespan is about 15 years, and in captivity, the lifespan is around 20 years. The color of reindeer coats varies greatly across animals, periods and subspecies. Northern communities of reindeer are smaller with lighter coats, whereas southern populations are typically larger with darker coats.

After understanding if female reindeer grows antlers like every male reindeer, also read whether female cows have horns and if female moose have antlers.

Do female reindeer have antlers?

Many people around the world have heard about Santa's red-nosed reindeer Rudolph during December and the Christmas season. Rudolph is probably the most famous reindeer in the family and also has a famous Christmas song named after him.

Pictures of reindeer can be found everywhere; on Getty Images, on a social media post, through Twitter links, or even in a news article. Reindeer are full of energy and are warm-blooded animals. Female reindeer are the only females in the deer family that have antlers. In all the other deer species, only males have antlers. Female reindeer antlers are very useful to them. Female reindeer shed their antlers just like males, and they use trees to scrape and shed the hair velvet off their antlers. Velvet is furry skin with tiny hair-like growth on them. This growth is very soft and feels like velvet to the touch, this is why it was given this name.

Food is scarce in the cold winter season. To save food and search for more during the cold, they shed inches of the antlers at the end of spring. They shed their velvet when the nights get longer during winter. They are vegetarians and mostly have grass on their menu. However, their menu also includes leaves and small shrubs. During the mating season, fights between reindeer can be observed. The mating season starts during spring. Most people confuse the plural form of reindeer as 'reindeers', but the singular and plural forms are both reindeer. Reindeer bodies are covered with fur to withstand the snowy and arctic climate of the north.

Do all female reindeer have antlers?

Unlike other deer species and their counterparts, all the female reindeer have horns called antlers. Reindeer males also fight for their ground.

The horns of female reindeer help to defend themselves. Reindeer antlers are made up of bone and keratin. Reindeer animals are often associated with Christmas and are typically affiliated with being cute, caring, proud, gentle animals. Their antlers, unlike the horns of other animals, fall off and regrow larger every year! Male reindeer start developing their antlers in February, whilst female reindeer start growing antlers in May. Each sex completes their antler growth at the same time but sheds them at different times of each year.

Males shed their antlers in November, rendering them antler-less only until the beginning of spring. On the other hand, females retain their antlers throughout the winter, as their calves are delivered in May. Reindeer have fur from the tip of their snout to the base of their hooves. The shaggy hooves may appear odd, but they provide a superb grip when traveling on frozen ground, snow, slush, and frost. Each male and female reindeer possess antlers, whereas other deer subspecies generally only have antlers on the males.

Reindeer have the largest and most powerful antlers of any surviving deer species when matched to their body composition. A male's antlers can grow to be 51 in (129.54 cm) in length, while a female's antlers can grow to be 20 in (50.8 cm) in length. Not all female reindeer have antlers, as growing them requires a lot of energy. Therefore, in places where food is scarce, it may be more efficient for a female reindeer to live without antlers.

Both male and female reindeers have antlers but males are larger in size.

Why do female reindeer have antlers?

Female reindeer guard food with their antlers in little areas of cleaned snow. Those with the greatest antlers are usually the most socially competent and in the greatest physical shape.

Male reindeer keep their antlers during late fall, following the rut. On the other hand, female reindeer keep their antlers throughout spring, since nourishment is essential throughout the winter gestation period. Species of male deer always possess antlers, however, females typically do not. It is interesting that female reindeer serve as an exception when it comes to antler possession in the deer family. Both female and male reindeer produce antlers, which they possess for varying amounts of time.

How to differentiate between male and female reindeer?

Male and female caribou can often be distinguished by size, as males are generally larger than animals of the female sex.

Adult male caribou approximately weigh between 275-660 lb (124.7-299.3 kg). Females are slightly smaller, weighing around 50-300 lb (22.6-136 kg) on average. Even during the breeding period, male caribou develop morphological traits that help determine their sex. Long hairs emerge noticeably beneath their necks as they prepare to participate in violent, sometimes life-threatening, contests for the affection of females. Finally, their bellies begin to press inward and their necks continue to get wider and longer.

All of these signs appear in preparation for the fall rut, which commences in October and lasts into November. Aside from fighting behavior among males during the mating season, other behaviors can also indicate a caribou's sex. If a caribou chases another, there is a large possibility that the pursuer is male, whilst the other caribou is female. One last differentiator is that male caribou commonly thrash their antlers onto plants when seeking to seduce female caribou!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for whether female reindeer have antlers then why not take a look at if elephants have a good memory, or how to raise a duck.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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