Reindeer are commonly found in the arctic tundra and boreal forests of Russia, Alaska, Scandinavia, Greenland, and Canada. These deer species often migrate in large numbers between tundra and forested areas. You will also find some in Northern Europe where they are domesticated.
There are two ecotypes of reindeer: the tundra reindeer and the forest reindeer. This article covers reindeer habitat and where they are typically found. So, without further ado, let's get started!
In what climate do reindeer live?
Reindeer are often associated with Christmas, a holiday celebrated when winter is at its height. Therefore, the creatures naturally live in cold climates near the arctic tundra, where temperatures drop below -58°F.
Because they live in very cool climates, their bodies are equipped with a double layer of thick hair to protect them from the cold. The jacket has high insulating properties, which will be explained later in this article.
did you knowCompared to humans, the reindeer's nasal architecture consists of 25% more capillaries that carry oxygen-rich blood. Increased blood flow to the nose helps keep the surface of the nose warm. ~John Cullen of the University of Rochester
Where do reindeer live in Canada?
Reindeer are found in the Northwest Territories of Canada, which are very close to the North Pole. That makes sense, since their bodies are well adapted to extremely cold temperatures.
Domesticated reindeer have been bred in herds in the Mackenzie Delta of northwestern Canada for more than 80 years. They were first introduced to the area in 1935 when a shortage of caribou arose.
Today these approximately 3,000 animals are the only free-roaming reindeer in Canada.
Reindeer tend to roam a lot. So at the beginning of April they move towards the city of Inuvik. The areas around Jimmy Lake are often their wintering grounds.
They are slowly approaching the calving grounds on Richards Island, near Tuktoyaktuk.
Where do reindeer live in Europe?
Northern Europe is home to more than 3 million native reindeer. You can find them in the north of Fennoscandia and Russia.
The Cairngorms region of Scotland is another important habitat for semi-domesticated reindeer. Wild tundra reindeer inhabit regions of southern Norway.
In the early 20th century, reindeer migrated from Norway to the South Atlantic island of South Georgia. Two different herds populated the area, separated by glaciers.
However, climate change ultimately caused a decline in reindeer populations in these areas between 2013 and 2017.
Traditional herders value these animals for their skin, meat, and milk. The Sami (Lapps) of Scandinavia use reindeer antlers to make tools and carve them into totem poles.
Currently, a small herd of around 4,000 reindeer populates the French sub-Antarctic archipelago, while 2,500-3,000 animals have emerged in eastern Iceland (Those).
Other habitats where reindeer can be found
Where are most reindeer found?
Most reindeer are found in the arctic tundra. You can also find them in the adjacent boreal forests of Greenland. Reindeer originally come from Scandinavia.
Other regions where these animals live are North America, Siberia and some parts of Europe.
Norway, Finland and Sweden are home to the wildest reindeer. In Norway alone there are around 270,000 animals.
Where can I see a real reindeer?
True reindeer are not easy to spot because they prefer to live in places where human interference is minimal. But if you look in the right place, chances are you'll find a wild sighting that will be incredibly rewarding.
Here are the 4 best places to see reindeer:
- Swedish Lapland:
Swedish Lapland is home to around 300,000 reindeer, which means there's a good chance of seeing one in the area.
The Sami people, a group of 170,000 people, are spread across the northern Arctic, including areas such as Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway.
Reindeer herding is a common practice in your country, which means you have a good chance of getting close to reindeer in Swedish Lapland.
- Cairngorms Reindeer Centre, Scotland:
If you're hoping to see real reindeer, don't miss the Cairngorms Reindeer Center in Scotland.
Located in the famous National Park, you can walk every day through the hills of the Cairngorms, where reindeer roam free in the wild.
A guide takes you through their natural habitat so you can get up close, feed and even pet these magical creatures.
- Svalbard, Norway:
In Svalbard, Norway, a country between the North Pole and the Norwegian mainland, you'll find plenty of opportunities to see reindeer.
Here you will find the smallest reindeer species, weighing between 56kg and 90kg.
They are much smaller than reindeer in other areas, weighing between 80 and 180 kg depending on the sex.
Unlike other reindeer species, Svalbard reindeer often travel alone or in a small herd. They roam all over Spitsbergen, so chances are you'll see one in its natural habitat.
- Denali National Park, Alaska:
According to reports, around 750,000 reindeer live in Alaska, some of which can be easily found in the wild.
Denali National Park is a great place to start looking for real reindeer, as around 3,000 animals can be found here.
You can also visit the Kenai Peninsula and highways north of Fairbanks, Alaska to see real reindeer.
If you don't want to go crazy, it's a good idea to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
Here are other places to visit if you want to see real reindeer:
- Inuvik, Canada
- Finnish Lapland, Finland
- Tromso, Norway
Where can I find Santa's reindeer?
Santa's reindeer, also known as R.t. Saint-Nicolas magicus can be found at the North Pole. These fictional creatures are known for their infinite lifespan.
Some even say they are immune to the coronavirus, so the supply of gifts has not been interrupted during the pandemic.
Best of all, Rudolf the reindeer driving Santa's sleigh didn't need a mask to cover his bright red nose!
Can reindeer live anywhere in the world?
No, reindeer cannot live anywhere in the world. These animals can only survive in the cold due to their unique biological characteristics, including their insulating fur, "red noses," and more.
A soft layer of wool covers their skin, which is covered with long, hollow "guard hairs" that trap heat around their body, keeping them warm in the frigid temperatures of their natural habitat. ~Wonderopolis.org
In hot weather, the reindeer don't eat much and often wander restlessly. They are constantly attacked by insects because the areas around their eyes do not have enough fur.
Anemia is common in calves in hot weather. Younger reindeer can also die if they are not kept at the right temperatures.
In other words, due to their biological characteristics, reindeer cannot survive in warm temperatures like polar bears.
Are reindeer endangered?
Yes, reindeer are endangered. Poaching, environmental changes, and increasing human encroachment are major factors that have led to declining reindeer populations around the world.
They have reached the Least Concern category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They need protection to prevent a further decline in reindeer populations. ~world animal foundation
The Canadian government has already taken steps to monitor these species. The Bern Convention for the Conservation of Wildlife and Natural Habitats in Europe initiated European protection and conservation projects.
Reindeer are often held captive by the animal entertainment industry because of their association with Christmas. As a result, their welfare is compromised and their nutritional, environmental and management requirements are not met.
Lack of exercise weakens their immune systems and makes them more susceptible to disease. They are also subject to stress and boredom, which leads to self-mutilation.
All of the above factors are the reason behind the sharp decline in reindeer populations. In the past two decades, reindeer numbers have fallen from 4.6 million to an estimated 2.1 million in 2018.
Reindeer are fascinating creatures, from their unique biological characteristics to their association with Christmas. They can adapt to hot and cold temperatures, but they cannot survive in the heat.
Unfortunately, these creatures are now on the brink of extinction. Conservation projects to save the reindeer have already started, but we still have to work harder to save these magical creatures!
Where do reindeer live? - frozen arctic? ›
Also referred to as caribou, reindeer are a member of the deer family and live in the tundra regions of the Arctic. But reindeer can also be found in the far north of North America, Russia, and the sub-Arctic regions of Scandinavia. We most often see reindeer in Svalbard.Where do reindeer live in the Arctic? ›
They are found in the Arctic tundra and adjacent boreal forests of Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada.Are reindeer in the taiga or tundra? ›
The correct answer is Tundra. The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, sub-Arctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North America.Where do reindeer live in the winter? ›
Known as caribou in North America, reindeer live in very cold regions such as Alaska and Scandinavia. They can also be found in Scotland following a reintroduction in the Cairngorms.Do reindeer live in the Arctic? ›
You can find reindeer (or caribou) to the north in the arctic and subarctic regions of the planet.Can reindeer survive in the North Pole? ›
Reindeer don't live at the North Pole, despite what you may have heard in folklore. A few Arctic caribou can be discovered in the tundra, however. Formed by the coniferous taiga woods of the Arctic, the Arctic tundra encircles the North Pole. It spans from Alaska to Canada to Russia to Greenland to Iceland.How do reindeer survive in the cold? ›
Reindeer come from the Ice Age – they are used to surviving in temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius. Evolution has made sure that they pass the test when it comes to survival. Their fur is dense, and each individual hair is so robust that the animal is optimally insulated in these cold and icy conditions.Do reindeer live in the cold tundra? ›
Reindeer are native to northern Europe, Siberia, and North America in the Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions.Do reindeer live in Taigas? ›
Caribou / Reindeer
The caribou, also known as the reindeer in Europe, is a large member of the deer family, Cervidae. This herbivorous species is one of the largest animals that live in the taiga. Female caribou are the only female deer to grow antlers.
Reindeer live in areas of Arctic tundra (a cold treeless plain, frequently poorly drained) and the northern boreal forests that make up the southern edge of the tundra.
How does reindeer survive in tundra? ›
Fur covering a reindeer's body helps it stay warm in its very cold habitat. Reindeer even have fur on the bottom of their hooves, which helps them keep from slipping on icy ground. Their big, broad hooves also work well as paddles when the animal swims across rivers or lakes.
Caribou are mammals that live in the northern regions of Europe, North America, Asia, and Greenland. When snow begins to fall, caribou move south and travel to more sheltered climes where they can feed on moss or lichens.Where is Santa's reindeer live? ›
Santa's reindeer are reported to live at the North Pole, where they are cared for by Mr. Claus, Mrs. Claus, and a handful of specially trained elves.Are reindeer in the Arctic or Antarctic? ›
Also referred to as caribou, reindeer are a member of the deer family and live in the tundra regions of the Arctic. But reindeer can also be found in the far north of North America, Russia, and the sub-Arctic regions of Scandinavia.How do reindeer survive in Greenland? ›
Many reindeer move to the wet, northern woodlands in the winter to eat lichen, which is a plant made up of fungus and algae. The bacteria and protozoans in the stomach of a reindeer break down lichen compounds into sugars that the animals use for sustenance. Reindeer need a lot of food to survive a long winter.Why do reindeer move south in the winter? ›
Reindeer move south in the winter to escape the bitter cold temperature. They move north in the summer to escape biting insects.Can reindeers get hypothermia? ›
The critical Ta for a 9-month-old calf in still air is −45°C or lower and the adult reindeer can withstand Ta as low as −52°C without any apparent increase in heat production (Hart et al.How long do reindeer live in North Pole? ›
Reindeer Life Expectancy
They are well adapted to living in extreme conditions, so they have a relatively long life expectancy. Most male reindeer live between 10 and 12 years, while females usually live between 15 and 20 years, although there are records of some living up to 30 years.
The coat of a reindeer insulates against polar cold with the help of dense underfur that traps air.What are 6 animals that live in the taiga? ›
Mammals like pine marten, moose, bobcats, black bears, fishers, Canada lynx, and grizzly bears are found in the taiga. These mammals all have thick coats that protect them from the cold.
What is the difference between the tundra and the taiga? ›
Taigas are cold biomes where few plants grow due to the nutrient-poor soil, coniferous trees are able to survive and cover most of the biome. Tundra biomes are much colder than the taiga and have no trees. The growing season is short with few warm and sun-filled days.Do reindeer live in coniferous forests? ›
Main Characteristics. Reindeer belong to the deer family and live as gregarious animals in the colder regions of North America, Northern Europe and North Asia. In summer they live in the tundra, a barren landscape without trees and in winter they live in coniferous forests, the so-called taiga.Are Greenland tundra reindeer extinct? ›
Greenland. The Arctic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus eogroenlandicus), properly known as the East Greenland caribou, was a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) that once lived in eastern Greenland. It has been extinct since 1900.What do reindeer eat in the tundra in winter? ›
Reindeer are ruminants. When available, they eat mosses, herbs, ferns, grasses, and the shoots and leaves of shrubs and trees, especially willow and birch. In winter, they make do with lichen (also called reindeer moss) and fungi, scraping the snow away with their hooves to get it.What is Santa Claus Favourite reindeer? ›
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.Can reindeer live in warm climates? ›
They typically move up north during summer and come back down south during colder seasons to feed and grow. They can live in hot weather, though with certain inconveniences, which we'll explore further in the article.Do reindeer live in Alaska? ›
Reindeer are domestic cousins to caribou. There are about 18,000 reindeer in Alaska, and about 12,000 of those are on the Seward Peninsula. Reindeer are also found on Nunivak Island, St. Lawrence Island, the Pribilof Islands and some of the Aleutian Islands.What eats caribou in the tundra? ›
Grizzly bears are very effective at killing young caribou calves less than a couple weeks old, although they also kill older caribou on occasion. Wolves are important predators of both young calves and older caribou. Other predators on caribou include black bears, golden eagles, wolverine, and coyotes.What country has the most reindeer? ›
Norway. The last remaining wild tundra reindeer in Europe are found in portions of southern Norway. In southern Norway in the mountain ranges, there are about 30,000–35,000 reindeer with 23 different populations. The largest herd, with about 10,000 individuals, is at Hardangervidda.How long do reindeers live? ›
Lifespan: On average, reindeer live 15 to 18 years.
What is the plural of reindeer? ›
reindeer. noun. rein·deer ˈrān-ˌdi(ə)r. plural reindeer also reindeers. : caribou.How old is Santa? ›
Exactly how old is Santa? According to the blog Email Santa, Santa Claus is 1,751 years old as of 2022. In fact, the origins of Santa Claus can be traced all the way back to a monk named Saint Nicholas, who was born between 260 and 280 A.D.What is Santa's real name? ›
Nicholas: The Real Santa Claus. The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around A.D. 280 in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey.Who is Rudolph's dad? ›
In the Rankin/Bass holiday special, his father is Donner and his mother is a tan doe named Mrs. Donner. In the GoodTimes retelling, Rudolph's father is Blitzen, and his mother is Mitzi.What is Santa's youngest reindeer? ›
Rudolph is the youngest and most famous of all the reindeer, universally celebrated for his heroics in the storm of 1939.How old is Santa's oldest reindeer? ›
Dasher is known as Santa's oldest reindeer. He and the rest of the reindeer were first mentioned in 1823 in Clement Clarke Moore's poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” better known as the “'Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem. So, that would make Dasher 198 years old!What's a female reindeer called? ›
In yet another departure from the rest of the deer family, reindeer aren't called bucks, does, or fawns. Instead, they share their terminology with cattle: A male is a bull (or in some cases a stag), a female is a cow, and a baby is a calf.Is Santa Claus from Antarctica? ›
Have your little ones ever wondered, “Where does Santa Claus live?” He lives at the North Pole, of course! Santa stays at the North Pole year-round.What are some fun facts about reindeer? ›
Reindeer are the only deer species to have hair completely covering their nose. Their specialized nose helps to warm incoming cold air before it enters their lungs, and it's also an excellent sniffer. Their good sense of smell helps the reindeer find food hidden under snow, locate danger, and recognize direction.Is Rudolph from the North Pole? ›
A young reindeer Rudolph lives at the North Pole.
How many reindeer does Santa have? ›
Before we get into naming all of them, let's get one thing straight—Santa has a total of nine reindeer pulling his sleigh. The legendary names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and (drum roll) Rudolph.Can reindeer fly? ›
A: Most reindeer can't fly, but Santa's reindeer are special. Because they're magic, they can fly very high and very far without getting tired. Q: How does Santa find the reindeer for his sleigh?Are there any reindeer in the United States? ›
Caribou, North America's wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.Do reindeer live near polar bears? ›
In Svalbard, just over 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole and where signposts warn of the danger of polar bears, some 300 sedentary bears live alongside around 20,000 reindeer. There are now indications that polar bears have been hunting reindeer more frequently in recent decades.Where do reindeer live in Alaska? ›
There are about 18,000 reindeer in Alaska, and about 12,000 of those are on the Seward Peninsula. Reindeer are also found on Nunivak Island, St. Lawrence Island, the Pribilof Islands and some of the Aleutian Islands.Which part of the continents do reindeer live in? ›
Caribou are native to North America, whereas reindeer are native to northern Europe and Asia.Do reindeer live in the North or South Pole? ›
No, reindeer are native to the northern polar region and not to Antarctica.Can a reindeer outrun a polar bear? ›
Without a doubt, the reindeer have a clear advantage.
Reindeer are much faster than bears on average and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.
North America has a wide variety of biomes and diverse ecosystems that allow many subspecies of reindeer to thrive. The largest herds are in Alaska and Canada, spreading across several territories.What do Alaskans call reindeer? ›
Santa's reindeer (R.t. saintnicolas magicalus) look very similar to common reindeer or caribou, but have many characteristics that distinguish them from the seven other common subspecies. In Europe, caribou are called reindeer, but in Alaska and Canada only the semi-domesticated form is called reindeer.
Where is the largest herd of reindeer? ›
The Taimyr herd of Siberian tundra reindeer is the largest wild reindeer herd in the world, varying between 400,000 and 1,000,000; it is a metapopulation consisting of several subpopulations — some of which are phenotypically different — with different migration routes and calving areas.What is a group of reindeer called? ›
Reindeer live in big groups called a herd. In the spring, herds come together and form an even bigger group of up to 500,000 animals.Where are the most reindeer in the world? ›
Domesticated reindeer are mostly found in northern Fennoscandia and Russia, with a herd of approximately 150–170 semi-domesticated reindeer living around the Cairngorms region in Scotland. The last remaining wild tundra reindeer in Europe are found in portions of southern Norway .What's the difference between a reindeer and a caribou? ›
Reindeer and caribou are the same animal (Rangifer tarandus) and are a member of the deer family. In Europe, they are called reindeer. In North America, the animals are called caribou if they are wild and reindeer if they are domesticated.