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Text: Mammals.
   
Peary Caribou
Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi.
Peary caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi
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Where are they found? North America

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The Peary caribou is a light-coloured Arctic subspecies of caribou. It is the smallest of the caribou/reindeer subspecies, reaching a shoulder height of only about 90 cm (3 ft.). A large bull will weigh about 110 kg (240 lb.). A cow weighs approximately 10 to 20% less.

Peary caribou live on the Canadian Arctic islands. The thick coat of hollow hairs provides good insulation from the Arctic climate. Unlike their southern relatives, Peary caribou don't have access to lichens during the winter. Instead, they paw through the snow for dried grasses, sedges and Arctic willow.

They are gregarious, like the southern species, but travel in much smaller herds of 5 to 20 animals. Though Peary caribou regularly migrate between summer and winter ranges and may travel between islands over the winter ice, they do not make the spectacular migrations for which the larger and darker barren-ground caribou are well-known.


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Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi. Photo: Peary Caribou, Rangifer tarandus pearyi.


Text: Want more about this animal? Visit Photographs from Nature. Photos: Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens), Archive slide #S75-5527; Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), #S79-3009; Peary caribou (Rangifer tarandus), #S95-04858.


To cite this page for personal use:
“Peary Caribou”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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An image from the interactive.

The Porcupine Caribou

Porcupine Caribou migration is riddled with natural and man-made pitfalls. Follow the herd and see what threatens the animals' survival!
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