Facts about wild reindeer

Grey-brown, wirehaired coat, also between the hooves and on the muzzle. Both sexes grow antlers. The Svalbard reindeer has a denser coat, is more compact and has shorter legs.

Up to 220 cm long, with a shoulder height of up to 125 cm. A bull can weigh up to 270 kg, with a slaughter weight of 50 to 140 kg. The female is considerably smaller.

Reindeer reach sexual maturity at the age of one and a half. The rutting season is from the middle of September until the middle of October. The gestation period is approx. 225 days. Almost always only one calf, twin calves are rare. Calving takes place in May-June.

During winter, lichen from the ground and from trees constitutes 40-80 per cent of the reindeer’s diet.  The remainder is made up of dry grass and shrubs. During summer, reindeer eat herbs, grass, dwarf shrubs and some lichen.

Male: Bull
Female: Cow
Young: Calf  

Northern parts of Europe, Asia, North America, Svalbard and Greenland. Domestic reindeer have been introduced on South Georgia and Iceland. In Norway, wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) are only found in the mountainous areas in the south, from Sør-Trøndelag and southwards. In addition to the wild reindeer in mainland Norway, Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) are found on the Svalbard islands. Domestic reindeer are herded in large areas of northern Norway and as far south as parts of Oppland and Hedmark.

Way of life:
In Norway, reindeer are diurnal animals that live in herds. The reindeer are nomadic, i.e. they travel varying distances between their summer and winter pasture areas.

A low grunting or snorting sound.

The reindeer’s hoof print is crescent-shaped, 9-10 cm wide and 8-9 cm long. This varies depending on age, sex and the surface underfoot. Reindeer excrement consists of small, irregular balls 12-15 mm long and 7-10 mm wide. Their excrement varies depending on their diet.

The hunting season varies in length, starting around 20 August and lasting until the end of September.  

Also see Svalbard reindeer (Norwegian Polar Institute)

Life span:
Up to 18 years.

In Norway, reindeer live largely in the bare mountains, but in certain wild reindeer areas forests form a significant part of their habitat.