Reindeer for Kids | Caribou | Wild Animals | Arctic Animals


Is that some kind of HUGE DEER? Yes! These magnificent creatures are reindeer! Reindeer are a species of deer that live way
up close to the North Pole, where it’s very cold. Reindeer actually go by two different names. In North America, wild reindeer are called
CARIBOU. In Northern Europe and Asia, they are called
REINDEER. But when caribou become domesticated in North
America, that is, kept in herds by people, we call them reindeer again. Confusing, we know – just go with it. Some scientists think the reindeer was one
of the first domesticated animals – way back around 2000 years ago. Some people who live in the Arctic still depend
on reindeer for meat, milk, clothing, and even transportation. You’ve heard of Santa’s sleigh, right? That’s the idea. Reindeer are built to withstand the cold. They have a thick coat with two layers – a
fuzzy layer close to the skin that keeps them warm and dry, and a top layer that’s similar
to human hair except each strand of hair is hollow like a straw. The hollowness allows the hair to trap and
keep warm air. One nice side benefit of this air-filled coat
is that it helps caribou swim up high in the water, acting almost like a life jacket. Did you know reindeer can swim? One of the oldest pieces of art in the British
Museum is a sculpture of two swimming reindeer, made out of a mammoth tusk during the last
Ice Age. Reindeer noses are big and wide. That’s not just to make them cute. It’s another way they stay warm in the freezing
weather. There is actually space inside the nose that
reindeer use to warm up the air they breathe in before it enters their lungs. There is a dense network of blood vessels
close to the surface inside their noses. When the air rushes in, it gets warmed up
by their bloodstream! Because their noses are so big, it also lets
them hang onto the warm air they breathe out for just a little longer, to stay warm. The scientific name for reindeer is “Rangifer
tarandus”. That’s the species name, but there are actually
many different SUBspecies of reindeer. The smallest reindeer is the Svalbard reindeer,
and the largest is boreal woodland caribou. Reindeer range from 70 to 135 centimeters
tall. Adult males, called bulls, can weigh over
200 kilograms and get over 2 meters long. Adult females, referred to as cows, can weigh
over 100 kilos and also get up to about 2 meters long. Baby reindeer are called calves, and when
they’re born they usually weigh just a few kilograms. Female calves reach full size at 4 years,
while males take a couple more years to reach maturity. Can you tell the difference between reindeer
and some other kinds of deer? You can recognize reindeer by their antlers! Compared to other deer, reindeer have the
largest antlers relative to their body. Reindeer antlers grow up to to 130 centimeters long! Bulls have larger antlers than cows. But did you know they grow them and shed them
at different times? Male reindeer start to grow their antlers
in February, and then they shed them in November. So if you see a reindeer in the snow without
antlers, it’s probably a male. Female reindeer keep their antlers through
the winter, until they have little baby deer in May. WAIT A MINUTE. That means Santa’s reindeer are all female. GIRL POWER!! What’s the point of these giant antlers,
anyway? Males show off their enormous antlers to impress
the female reindeer. The number of points increases on male reindeer
every year until they are 5 years old. Now there’s a handsome fellow! The male reindeer fight for mates, and clash
their antlers together, making a terrific noise. Female reindeer, on the other hand, do something
more practical, and use their antlers to brush snow away to reveal food underneath. Mmmm, lichen! When the antlers grow in, they are soft and
rubbery-like, covered with a velvety layer that sheds off once the antlers are full size. The antlers form branches, just like a tree! Once the antlers are full grown and with time,
they become hard and bony. Did you know that antlers are made of living
bone? Like thumbprints, no two antlers are alike. They are all unique. Whoah! Reindeer live on average around 15 years in
the wild, with females living about four years longer than the males. They like to eat moss and various short grasses. A LOT of moss and grasses. An adult caribou can eat up to 12 pounds of
food each day! Like most other cattle-like mammals, they
have four-chambered stomachs that help with digestion. They find food by digging with their big hooves. Reindeer hooves are incredibly versatile,
meaning adaptable and change based on the needs of the caribou. In the summer when the ground is soft, their
hooves expand and become sponge-like. This helps provide traction so they don’t
slip. In the winter, their hooves shrink and tighten. The shrinkage exposes the rim of the hoof,
which helps cut through hard snow and ice. The word “caribou” actually translates
to “snow shoveler.” Reindeer migrate seasonally every year. They need to travel to find food and go to
safe areas to have their babies. Reindeer Cows find places that are predator-free,
like islands in lakes, peatlands, lakeshores, or tundra to raise their young. Reindeer migrate farther than any other land
animal. They can travel up to 5,000 kilometers a year! No other land animal travels as far. Reindeer can also run up to 80 kilometers
per hour. Young caribou can already outrun an Olympic
sprinter when only a day old. Wow! Reindeer migrate in huge herds. There is one enormous wild herd of Siberian
tundra reindeer that ranges between 400,000 and 1 million reindeer! Another huge herd of boreal woodland caribou
is found in Canada. But how do these reindeer stick together in
one big herd? How do they keep from wandering off and getting
lost? Some reindeer knees or hooves click. The sound comes from the tendons of their
joints, and can be heard up to 10 meters away. This clicking sound helps the reindeer stay
together when traveling because they are able to hear the clicking joints of other reindeer. The bigger the reindeer, the bigger the click,
so the largest reindeer lead the way. Pretty neat, huh? Another way reindeer can signal to each other
is by leaving scent markings from a gland on their leg. They can use this to warn the rest of the
herd about danger. When running away from a scary situation like
a pack of wolves, reindeer lift up their tails and show the white underside. This is a signal for other reindeer to follow
closely so they can all escape together. Many people think of reindeer at Christmas
time. Legend tells of a very kind man named Santa
Claus or Father Christmas or Kris Kringle or Saint Nick who travels around the world
on Christmas Eve, giving presents to good children. How does he manage this feat? With the help of a magical sleigh, pulled
by a team of flying reindeer. We learned the names of these famous reindeer
through a 1823 poem called “A Visit From St. Nicolas.” Their names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Dunder, and Blixem. In later works, Dunder’s name was changed
to the more impressive Donner, which means Thunder in German. And Blixem became Blitzen, because blitz means lightning in German. Thunder and lightning are a good pair. But what about the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer joined Santa’s
sleigh in 1939, according to the book by Robert L. May. Rudolph has a nose that glows red and allows
Santa and the other reindeer to find their way, even when they’re flying through fog. Thanks, Rudolph! What do you think about reindeer? Did you know they are also called caribou? Which of Santa’s reindeer is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below! We want to know what you think! Now it’s time to watch another video from
Socratica Kids! Click on the video you want to watch next!

8 thoughts on “Reindeer for Kids | Caribou | Wild Animals | Arctic Animals

  1. Have you ever seen a reindeer in the wild? We got to meet one at a petting zoo once, but they really don't belong here in Los Angeles! 😀

  2. Funny story – a few of our friends confessed they didn't know that reindeer were real! Let's share this video and spread KNOWLEDGE!

  3. wow! Their knees click? That was cool. Learning about the antlers was interesting. I liked how they get bigger when the Caribou is older. We all love caribou! They are adorable animals. And they can swim, even though they are huge! We were trying to find out if Caribou females have antlers and your movie helped us know…females have antlers! This was a really good movie. From the kids at Dunsmuir Elementary School in Dunsmuir, California. GO WILDCATS!

  4. Welcome to Socratica Kids! We make SMART + FUN videos for kids! Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/SocraticaKids ??
    You might also like Polar Bears http://bit.ly/PolarBears4Kids
    Arctic Animals: http://bit.ly/ArcticOceanAnimals

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