Monday, 26 January 2015

Species of the week 4 Winter Survivior - Reindeer

I was in Aviemore and intended to go skiing but the forecast was for high winds and rain - not ideal. We decided to have a drive up the road and see what the weather was really like higher up. It started to pour down and so we pulled into the lower car park where I was treated to seeing some of the Cairngorm Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus and I got quite excited. Suddenly the wind and rain didn't matter any more and I was out in it with my camera!
Rangifer tarandus, Reindeer - Cairngorm
Pictured above is a fairly young reindeer in fact a lot of the reindeer looked fairly young and they were also tame. I am pretty sure they were from the reindeer centre in Aviemore. They were quite happy for me to take photos, but I am guessing they were more bothered about keeping out of the worst of the weather and feeding.
Rangifer tarandus, Reindeer toughing it out - Cairngorm
Reindeer were reintroduced into Scotland in 1952 and it is estimated that there are around 150 of them in the wild. It is great to see these magnificent animals toughing it out in the arctic like conditions found in Cairngorm. There are lots of interesting facts about reindeer on a website I found composed by a reindeer fan.
The things I noticed whilst watching these animals was how thick and effective their coat looks and that they were all standing in the same direction facing the wind. I also had a good look at their feet and their hoof prints pictured below. They appear much more rounded than that of say a red deer and when they placed their feet on the snow it spread out a little. It reminded me of a camels hoof and how effective they are when placed on sand.
Hoof print in snow, Rangifer tarandus, Reindeer - Cairngorm
So this was an unexpected treat for me. I would have watched the reindeer for longer but I was far softer than them and so left them to it!

Sources of info: (Accessed 25 January 2015) (Accessed 26 January 2015)

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