What are caribou? What do they eat? Where do they live? How do they grow? This lesson will answer all of these questions and teach you lots of interesting facts about caribou!

What are Caribou?

You’re at the grocery store with your family and your dad picks up a bag of coffee called Caribou Coffee. It has a cool looking animal on the bag that looks like a reindeer. You ask your dad about it and he tells you that the animal is called a caribou, and the coffee company is named after it. You start wondering about caribou. What are they? What do they look like? Keep reading to learn lots of facts about these cool animals!

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Both male and female caribou have antlers.

Caribou are mammals. This means that they have hair, are warm-blooded, and give birth to live babies. Caribou have thick brown and white fur that helps keep them warm in cold weather. Caribou are known for the large antlers, or big bones, on their heads. Both male and female caribou have antlers! Caribou also have big feet with flat hooves, or hard foot coverings. Caribou weigh about 500 pounds, which is bigger than a piano! In size, they range from 5-10 feet long and about 3-5 feet tall (at the shoulder.)

What Do Caribou Eat?

Caribou are herbivores. This means that they only eat plants. Caribou like to eat berries, mushrooms, leaves, and grass. Because they live in cold places, their food is buried under lots of snow in the winter! They use their big feet to help them dig through the deep snow. Their hooves act like scoops and help them scoop out food from underneath all the snow. An adult caribou eats about 12 pounds of food each day! That is like eating 48 quarter pound burgers from McDonald’s in one day!

Where Do Caribou Live?

Caribou live together in a group called a herd.

Caribou live in the northern part of the world. This part of the world is cold all year, but caribou move throughout the year. During the summertime, caribou live far north in an area called the tundra. A tundra is a cold plain with no trees that is frozen most of the year. During the winter, caribou travel south to snowy forests where it is not quite as cold. Between summer and winter, caribou can travel about 600 miles! This is farther than any other land animal travels. Caribou live and travel together in groups called herds.

How Do Caribou Grow?

Baby caribou learn to walk after only one day!
caribou baby

Baby caribou are born in the spring. Mother caribou usually give birth to only one baby at a time, just like humans! Baby caribou are able to walk when they are only one day old! Caribou can live to be 15 years old in the wild.

Fun Facts about Caribou

  • Male caribou fight with their antlers!
  • Caribou are also known as reindeer!

Lesson Summary

Caribou are mammals, which means that they are warm-blooded, have hair, and give birth to live babies. They are herbivores that only eat plants. Caribou live in the northern part of the world and spend their summers on the frozen tundra, a cold plain with no trees.