Finnish Forest Reindeer

The Finnish Forest Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) is a large ungulate (hoofed) mammal in the deer family. It is a sub-species of the Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). It is also known as the European Forest Reindeer. It is an artiodactyl because it has cloven (split) hooves.

The Finnish Forest Reindeer has dark-brown to light-brown fur. Its coat has two layers of fur – a thick woolly undercoat and a longer-haired overcoat. It has long legs with wide, crescent-shaped, cloven hooves for walking across deep snow. It has white hair around its short tail. 

Finnish Forest Reindeer

Both the male and female grow antlers. The male has large V-shaped antlers and the female has smaller antlers. As antlers grow, they become covered in thick dark-brown velvet. It loses it antlers and grows a new pair each year.

It is one of the largest sub-species of reindeer. It grows to 180-220 centimetres (71-87 inches) long and about 120 centimetres (47 inches) at shoulder height. Its tail is 10-15 centimetres (4-6 inches) long. The male’s antlers grow to about 100 centimetres (39 inches) wide and 135 centimetres (53 inches) long. 

It is native to Finland and north-western Russia. In Finland, it is found mainly in Kainuu, central Finland, and the Suomenselka area. It prefers dense forests with trees. It is migratory, moving back and forth across the Russo-Finnish border. It hides away from humans.

Its predators include bears and wolves.

When running, it can reach speeds of 80 kilometres per hour (50 miles per hour). It is a good swimmer.

It is mainly a grazing herbivore, feeding on grass and mushrooms. It also eats moss and lichens. 

The Finnish Forest Reindeer lives in herds.

The male is called a bull and the female is called a cow. The female has a pregnancy of about 228 days, before giving birth to one live young, called a calf. It is precocial, which means that it is born with fur. The calf depends on its mother for milk, and can forage for its own food after about 45 days.

It lives for about 10-15 years.

Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer
Finnish Forest Reindeer

[Location of photographs: Berlin Zoo, Germany]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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