Caribou Mother Care

The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, is an iconic species of large deer with semi-annual migratory distribution, residing mainly in tundra, sub-arctic, and arctic areas of North America. It is a large herbivore, eating trees, seeds, and vegetation. In the winter it feeds on manmade snow for its body cover and fur. They are also known to have dense fur for winter. Wikipedia

With few exceptions, herds typically inhabit areas of coniferous forests, rocky areas, open plains and mountainous terrains. They are generally herbivores but do eat other plant life. They give birth to young that weigh up to forty pounds at birth. They have short, stocky, rounded horns, small tusks, and a long, tapering body with four toes, two front hooves, and an exceptionally long neck.

Caribou herds are usually separated into three or four smaller groups living in chippeways, paddies, shorelines, bays, gorges and along riverbanks. Occasionally, there are solitary flocks in dry fields or near rivers. Leopards, black bears, foxes, coyotes, weasels, owls, badgers, wolves, and bob cats sometimes mate with female Caribou and produce young. The young stay with their mother until they can fend for themselves.

A lactating mother gives birth to about eight to ten calves that are born in two months. The younger ones are called sows, while older sows are called bucks. The mother takes care of her young until they are weaned by another animal, usually a bull or horse. The young stay with their mother until they can hunt on their own.

Caribou parents usually give birth in May or June. Their teardrop shape makes them easy to spot during the winter. In early spring, they are born blind, unable to follow their mother. They rely on their strong mothers for warmth and protection.

Caribou are easily trapped and hunted because of their effective ability to flee from hunters. They are nocturnal in nature, hunting during the night and winter when they can usually be seen. Even though these animals are known for being fierce, they are rarely killed by hunters.

A Caribou’s maternity period lasts about two and a half months. During this time, the young stay with the mother until they can wean themselves. About one month after birth, the calf is weaned by the mother. The mother takes on her job (marks), eating it while the other cubs are left with their mothers. About six months later, the other cubs can begin to follow their mother, going into their pens and eating grass and leaves.

A young Caribou stays with its mother for around twelve weeks. When it reaches two years of age, it goes on to join the herd. After this, it begins to travel in search of prey, such as fish, small ungulates, and rodents. This is the time that its ears are fully developed, allowing it to become an excellent hunter. During this time, the mother gives birth to up to eight calves. At one-month-old, the Caribou’s eyes are open, but it is not advisable for parents to let the young see outside, for it can injure it.

The young stay with the mother until they are weaned by another mother. This happens at about 18 months old. By this time, the calves are strong enough to travel on their own. In fact, they can even outrun and outfight their mother at a distance. The mother then turns back to her own babies, allowing the young to stay with her.