The Reindeer of Finland


Reindeer refers to domesticated populations of caribou. (Photo credit: JellisV/istock Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen … but what do you really know about reindeer?

Here are 10 facts about reindeer that you might not know.

  1. Both reindeer cows (females) and bulls (males) grow distinctive antlers. A bull’s antlers can span over 1 meter (4 feet) in width.
  2. Though different in appearance, caribou and reindeer are likely the same species. The term “reindeer” is often used to identify domesticated animals, which the term “caribou” refers to wild populations.
  3. Reindeer were domesticated over 2000 years ago in Northern Eurasia. Today many cultures living in the Arctic herd reindeer. The reindeer are used as a food source and they are also used to make clothing and shelter.
  4. Reindeer are efficient swimmers and their insulating hairs help to make them buoyant.
  5. Reindeer migrate long distances (nearly 650 kilometers, or 400 miles) between their summer and winter ranges.
  6. Reindeer are herbivores that subsist mainly on lichen (often called “reindeer moss”).
  7. Reindeer have wide feet that act as snowshoes, which help them to navigate the snow and icy of their habitat.
  8. According to the Smithsonian, antlers are bony appendages that grow annually. In early winter (males) and late winter (females), bone-dissolving substances enter the base of the deers’ antlers. This event causes the reindeer to shed their antlers.
  9. Aside from Finland, populations of caribou are also found in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and portions of northern Europe and northern Asia.
  10. While reindeer can’t actually fly, according to the San Diego Zoo, they can run up to 80 km/h (50 mph).

More to Explore
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Facts About Reindeer
Reindeer: Twelve Fascinating Facts About These Amazing Creatures
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Country: Finland

Location: Finland is located in Northern Europe. It borders the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, and is located between Sweden and Russia.

Area: 338,145 sq km (land and water) (slightly smaller than Montana)

Climate: Finland has a cold temperate climate. Its potentially subarctic climate is kept comparatively mild due to the moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current and the Baltic Sea.

Terrain: The terrain of Finland is mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills.

Natural Resources: Chromite, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, limestone, silver, timber, zinc

Economics: $225 billion (est. 2015)

Environmental Issues: Air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations

Source: CIA – The World Factbook (

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