Caribou Facts

Caribou: Hey, is that a Reindeer?

Located at 62 ° latitude, -77° longitude.


Caribou are large, wild, elk-like animals, which can be found above the tree-line in Arctic North America and Greenland. They look like reindeer, but they are wild, unlike the reindeer who are domestic animals. Because they can live on lichen in the winter, they are very well adapted for the harsh Arctic tundra where they migrate great distances each year. Caribou cows and bulls both grow distinctive antlers; bull antlers can reach 4 feet in width!

Barren-ground caribou are a subspecies of caribou that are found mainly in the Canadian territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and in western Greenland.

  • The barren-ground caribou, called 'tuktu' in Inuinnaqtun/Inuktitut, is a major food source for the Inuit, especially the Caribou Inuit bands living in the Kivalliq Region (Barren Lands) of present-day Nunavut.


  • Caribou average 90 kg (198 lb) for females and 150 kg (331 lb) for males.
  • Both the males and females have antlers, which besides being weapons when they are fighting also seem to act as sound conductors and air conditioners. (see Antlers in Caribou Song)
  • The coat of the caribou actually changes colour depending on the season. During the summer, the coat of the caribou is brown, and much lighter in the winter. The neck and rump tends towards a creamy-white colour. However, the general colouration may differ depending on the region.

« Back to the treeline map