March 13, 2016

The Arctic Reindeer at Svalbard, Norway


During our days at Spitsbergen, Svalbard we did not meet the Polar Beer - but did see some Reindeers scattered around.
The reindeers up here have shorter legs and necks and looks more like a "ball" than the ones we find in the mainland of Norway. Surely due to a much tougher climate.

Svalbard Reindeer (wiki):
The Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) is a reindeer subspecies found on the Svalbard archipelago of Norway. They are the smallest subspecies of reindeer. Males average 65-90 kg in weight, females 53-70 kg,while for reindeer generally body mass is 159–182 kg for males and 80–120 kg for females.
The subspecies is endemic to the Svalbard islands, where it has lived for at least 5,000 years, and become well adapted to the harsh climate, being found on nearly all non-glaciated areas of the archipelago. It is the most northern living herbivore mammal in the world.


They remain short-legged and have a relatively small, rounded, head. Their fur is also lighter in colour and thicker during winter.The thickness of the coat contributes to the short-legged appearance and makes even starved animals appear fat in the winter. The males develop large antlers during the period from April to July and shed the velvet during August-September. Males lose their antlers in early winter. Females develop antlers starting in June and they are usually retained for a whole year.

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