What do caribou eat in the tundra

what do caribou eat in the tundra

Diet. The diet of the Caribou varies as the seasons change. In the summertime, when vegetation is more plentiful, Caribou will feed on a variety of plants including willow leaves. In the wintertime, Caribou will use their hooves to dig through snow to get to moss and other lichens that lie beneath the arctic surface. Aug 04, Reindeer moss, in particular, is a common dietary staple. The caribou's diet changes according to the season. Lichen is the caribou's primary winter food source. Research suggests caribou occasionally eat fish, such as arctic char, small rodents, including lemmings, and bird eggs during spring when sustenance is not always abundantly available.

The caribou lives in the arctic tundra, mountain tundra, and northern forests of North America, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Russia. It is estimated that there are about 5 million caribou in the world. They were first domesticated in Norway and northern Asia and known as reindeer.

People used them to pull their sleds, provide milk, meat and skins to build their tents. When it was seen how valuable they were, they were brought to Alaska in Later they were brought to parts of Canada.

These North American reindeer became known as caribou. Although they are called by different thee, they are both considered to be a single species. The caribou is actually a large members of the deer family. Unlike deer, both the male and female have antlers. The antlers of the male are long, branched and massive, and they are a little flattened at the ends.

The antlers of the female are much shorter, simpler and more eay and irregular. Sometimes they are completely missing. The caribou is a sturdy animal with short legs. Its coat is brown and becomes darker in the summer and lighter in the winter.

It has a ruff of long hairs under the neck, and the fur above the hooves and around the tail are almost white. The Alaskan caribou is clove-brown with a white neck and hindquarters. Adult bulls average pounds, but can weigh as much as pounds. Mature females average pounds They can range anywhere from 34 to 55 in height at the shoulder. They are well adapted to living on the tundra.

Their large, spreading hooves support the animal in snow in how to write a need based scholarship essay winter and marshy tundra in the summer. Caribou are also great swimmers and use their feet as paddles. They can also lower their metabolic rate and go into carivou semi-hibernation when conditions get very harsh.

When it looks like there is nothing to eat on the winter tundra, caribou will scrape the snow away with their wide feet or antlers and eat lichens, dried sedges and small shrubs. In the summer they the will eat leaves of willows, sedges, flowering tundra plants, and mushrooms. Caribou are social animals and live in huge herds. Males are often loners, until its time to mate, which caribiu in late September and October. The herds will often have several thousand animals in it.

They will migrate more than miles to reach winter or summer feeding grounds, and can travel up to 50 miles a day. The caribou's leg tendons make crackling sounds when it walks, which would make a migrating herd an noisy bunch indeed. Pregnant females will lead the migration to the calving grounds in May, where they will give birth to a single calf.

Most females don't breed until they are 28 months old, and will give birth every year. They weigh an average of 13 pounds and grow very quickly, doubling their weight in days. Their hair is a reddish-brown. Newborns can walk within an hour and in a few days can run with the herd. Still, wolves, grizzly bears, and golden eagles kill a large number of newborn calves.

Although some people are moving into the caribou's habitat, they seem to have adapted. Only one herd lost its calving grounds when the Alaskan oil pipeline was built, but ij seem to have migrated elsewhere. The caribou is not endangered, thanks to its ability to tolerate what is a quarantined virus people would wyat not deal with.

Tundra Climate.

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The Caribou has different diets for summer and winter. During summer Caribous will eat willow leaves, sedges, flowering tundra plants and mushrooms, then when winter comes around the Caribou will scrape the snow away to access the food buried underneath. This . May 10, They'll spend the summer months feeding on the abundant grasses and plants of the tundra. An adult caribou can eat 12 pounds of food each day. This is . Dec 09, Caribou are herbivorous. During fall and winter, they consume lichens (reindeer moss), dried sedges and small shrubs. During summer, caribou eat the leaves of willows, sedges, flowering tundra plants, and mushrooms. Large caribou herds must keep moving to find adequate food and may migrate hundreds of miles between summer and winter ranges.

Large hoofed animals belonging to the deer family, caribou and reindeer are actually the same species Rangifer tarandus. There are differences between caribou and reindeer though. Caribou are native to North America, whereas reindeer are native to northern Europe and Asia. Alaska does have some reindeer, however, imported from Siberia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some people use the term "reindeer" to refer to domesticated work animals, such as those pulling Santa's sleigh, but there are both wild and domestic herds of reindeer.

Caribou, on the other hand, are wild-living and long-migrating. Indigenous groups, including the Sami in northern Scandinavia and the Nenet in Russia's Arctic , herd reindeer and use them for their meat. That's also likely why reindeer evolved to be stockier than caribou. Caribou make one of the world's great large-animal migrations. As summer approaches, they head north along well-trod annual routes.

Some herds may travel more than miles to get to their summer grazing grounds. They'll spend the summer months feeding on the abundant grasses and plants of the tundra.

An adult caribou can eat 12 pounds of food each day. This is also when they give birth. When the first snows fall each year, the caribou turn back south. Herds of female caribou, called cows, leave several weeks before the males, which follow with yearling calves from the previous birthing season. The herds spend the winter in more sheltered climes and survive by feeding on lichens. Caribou are taller and lankier than reindeer, likely because they evolved to make these long migrations.

Caribou, as part of the deer family, have large hooves that are useful tools for life in the harsh northlands. They are big enough to support the animal's bulk on snow and to paddle it efficiently through the water. The hoof's underside is hollowed out like a scoop and used for digging through the snow in search of food. Its sharp edges give the animal good purchase on rocks or ice.

Caribou are the only deer in which male and females both have antlersthough only some females have them. Cows have one calf each year, which can stand after only a few minutes and move on with its mother by the next day.

Caribou are classified as vulnerable to extinction, one step above endangered. Because they're migratory, changes in the landscape , such as the appearance of new fences or other human development on their migration routes, can be especially disruptive. Climate change is also a threat. As the Arctic warms, they become more susceptible to diseases and parasites, which could quickly spread through a herd. All rights reserved. Common Name: Caribou Reindeer. Scientific Name: Rangifer tarandus.

Type: Mammals. Diet: Herbivore. Group Name: Herd. Size: 4 to 5 feet at the shoulder. Weight: to pounds. Size relative to a 6-ft man:. Least Concern Extinct. Current Population Trend: Decreasing. Share Tweet Email. Go Further. Animals Nat Geo Explores Why a whale's world is a world of sound.

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