Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Rangifer tarandus


Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration, chocolate-brown, darker on face, chest and upper side of tail; creamy white neck and mane. white belly, rump and underneath tail. Body, compact, heavyset; muzzle, blunt, well-furred; hooves, large. Antlers, mahogany-colour, curved back and up, with single tine facing forward above nose. Only member of the deer family where both male and female have antlers. Males shed their antlers in the autumn while the females retain them until spring calving time.

Caribou Size -
Male: 1.6 - 2.25 m (5.25 - 7.5 ft)
Female: 1.4 - 2 m (4.5 - 6.75 ft)


Mature coniferous uplands of the northernmost areas of the boreal forest and the Arctic tundra.


Primarily lichens and bark from shrubs in the winter; grasses, mosses and lichens in the summer.


The caribou is a nomadic animal that travels usually in herds in search of food as seasons change. In summer, they prefer more open areas to avoid biting insects while in the winter, they move south into the cover of the northern forest. The caribou's range once extended as far south as Minnesota, but the loss of old growth forest is attributed to their extirpation.

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