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Latin name: Rangifer tarandus
Family: Deer

Reindeer (in North America - caribou) - belongs to the family of deer suborder ruminants, the only representative of the genus Reindeer (Rangifer), cloven-hoofed mammal of the deer family. Lives in the northern part of Eurasia and North America. It does not only eat grass and lichens, but also small mammals and birds. In Eurasia, the reindeer is domesticated and is an important source of food and materials for many polar peoples. Among the peoples of the North, the wild reindeer is called sokzhoy.

Features of biology

The reindeer is a migratory species. Due to permanent migrations, the lichen cover is not completely destroyed and has time to recover. 90% of food for them are lichens, so they sense the yagel (the staple food) even under a layer of snow. Lichen substances obtained with food, save from intestinal parasites. Wide hooves allow you to navigate through loose snow and dig it in search of food. I thirst for this deer 9 months of the year, it quenches with snow. Wool is warm with a thick undercoat. Protruding hair length 1-2,5 see Hairs hollow for better thermal insulation, help also to stay afloat when wading rivers. Horns are found in males and females. Female horns are needed in order to drive away competitors from the food found, and are discarded when the deer appear. People domesticated reindeer, isolating part of the herd of wild animals. Domestic reindeer live on semi-grazing, and from wild animals differ in that they are used to people and in case of danger they do not scatter to the sides, but come together, hoping for protection of people. From deer people get milk, meat, wool, horns, bones, from a person deer needs only salt.


There are several subspecies of reindeer:

North American subspecies

1) Forest caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) - was originally distributed in the taiga regions of North America from Alaska to Newfoundland and Labrador. At present, the range has significantly decreased, the subspecies is recognized as being close to threatened (NT by IUCN classification).
2) Карибу Гранта (R. tarandus granti) — североамериканский подвид, распространён на Аляске, Юконе и Северо-Западных территориях Канады.
3) Тундровый карибу (R. tarandus groenlandicus) — распространён на канадских Северо-Западных территориях и в Нунавуте, а также в западной Гренландии.
4) Caribou Peary (R. tarandus pearyi) - is distributed on the northern islands of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada.
5) Caribou of Queen Charlotte Islands, or R. tarandus dawsoni is an extinct subspecies that lived on Graham Island, one of the largest islands in the archipelago of Queen Charlotte on the Pacific coast of Canada (British Columbia).


Eurasian subspecies

1) The wild reindeer (R. tarandus tarandus) is an inhabitant of the arctic tundra of Eurasia, including the Scandinavian Peninsula of Northern Europe. In Russia, the population exceeds 1,2 million individuals (1999 year).
2) The forest reindeer, or the Finnish reindeer (R. tarandus fennicus), was found in the wild only in two regions of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as in Karelia. A small population lives in the center of southern Finland. The Karelian population goes far enough deep into Russia, the question remains about the attitude of the eastern representatives of this population to this subspecies. The subspecies is included in the Red Book of Russia.
3) Spitsbergen reindeer (R. tarandus platyrhynchus) - an inhabitant of the islands of the Spitsbergen archipelago, is currently the smallest subspecies of reindeer.
4) The new-born reindeer (R. tarandus pearsoni) is an isolated population that inhabits the islands of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. In 1981 year on the island of South there were about 6 thousand individuals. The subspecies is included in the Red Book of Russia.
5) Arctic reindeer (R. tarandus eogroenlandicus) is a completely extinct subspecies that was found in eastern Greenland before the beginning of the 20th century.


The pantas (neocosthenye horns) of deer are known in folk medicine due to their healing properties. The extract extracted from them is used in pharmacology as a general tonic and adaptogenic drug. In Russia, the extract of reindeer antlers in 1986 was registered under the trademark "Rantarin". This drug can be used as part of complex therapy with increased fatigability, asthenic conditions, neurasthenia, arterial hypotension, neuroses, functional disorders of the genital area, increased drowsiness, hangover syndrome.

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