The Caribou, also referred to as caribou in North America and other parts of the world, is an animal of large size with large dark-colored fur, arctic pelts, short legs, big feet, well-developed muscles, good eyesight, a thick coat, strong body built, good endurance power, a rounded tail, and thick brows. This constitutes a large variety of subspecies found in many regions across the North American continent, in every range from lowland to highland and in all sizes between sub-game and breeding population. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. These animals feed mainly on forestomachs and plant roots. Their diet also includes some roots and nuts but not with any consistency throughout the year.
Caribou‘s are generally larger than the reindeers; weighing up to twelve pounds (5.2%) for females and up to fourteen pounds (5.4%) for males. Average height is just over three feet at shoulders. Tail is straight, slightly curved; ears are tipped by long hair tufts; nose is broad, rounded; eyes are almond shaped; chest is broad, covering the upper half of body; hands are webbed, claws are sharp and short, facial expression grimacing, and ears triangular. Head appears much larger when compared to body size; broad, oval shaped ears; almond shaped eyes; short, rounded ears; round chin, narrow forehead. Tail is straight, slightly curved; ears are tipped by long hair tufts; nose is broader, rounded; eyes are almond shaped; chest is broad, covering the upper half of body.
Caribou usually mates for life, usually a year and a half. Mother does most of the rearing; the cubs travel for long distances up to about two hundred kilometres each day to reach maturity. Sexual maturity is reached at around one year and after birth, the fur starts to grow in all its glory. The young stay with their mother until they can fend for themselves. After two years, the mother goes back to her own range and the cub is left to fend for himself.
In the early days, Caribou were hunted by big herdsmen who used them as packs. But because of their intelligence, they managed to survive and develop a strong reputation in the animal kingdom. During the fur trade, some of these animals were trained to shepherd for sheep and goats. Caribou became quite famous; this led to an increase in the number of them in the Canadian North. They were also brought to the southern portions of the United States by settlers.
During the fur trade period, they were also used for the transportation of produce. In fact, their meat was so good that it became the most popular food for the Americans; their pelts could be used as blankets and rug-making material. Caribou skin was also used for making moccasins. Their horns and hooves were then used for various purposes; they are also believed to bring good fortune and luck to the owner.
Today, you can still find Caribou around the Canadian North; in fact, you can see groups on the tundra each year. Some roam in the United States, too. Whether they are found in the forests or in the streets of cities, Caribou are some of the most majestic and popular animals in the world.