KIDSGAZETTE

In northern Europe, you might meet a festive reindeer or a towering elk

A herd of #x201c;tuktu,#x201d; the Inuktitut word for caribou or reindeer, move across the tundra in the Opingivik area
A herd of “tuktu,” the Inuktitut word for caribou or reindeer, move across the tundra in the Opingivik area of Baffin Island, Canada, March 2, 1999. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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Reindeer

In North America, we call them caribou, but in Scandinavian countries, and all of Europe, these animals are known as reindeer. Unlike deer, both male and female reindeer grow antlers, but they grow at different times of year. Male reindeer grow antlers in February and shed them in November, according to the FDA. Female reindeer, however, grow their antlers in May and keep them through the winter. So, those reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh? If they all have antlers, they’re all girls!

Arctic fox

These sly mammals have fur that turns white in the winter, letting them almost vanish against the snowy, frozen tundra. According to National Geographic, arctic foxes often follow around larger predators, like polar bears, and pick over their leftovers for food. When they simply can’t find meat, arctic fox will even resort to eating vegetables in the wild. At the end of long day, arctic fox sometimes use their fluffy white tails as a blanket.

Lynx

These cats can grow to be 4 feet long and almost 50 lbs., according to The Nature Conservancy. But lynx are fierce predators, often hunting animals four times bigger than they are, like reindeer. Lynx have tufted ears and cheeks and a very short tail, and their eyes, like other cats’, are very reflective. “Lynx” even means “to shine” in Greek.

Elk

Some Elk are enormous. They are often 4 or 5 feet tall and — when you add in their antlers — can be 9 feet tall, according to National Geographic. The biggest elks weigh as much as 1,100 lbs. Male elks also make a strange, high-pitched noise called “bugling.” This sound is the product of two sounds a male elk makes at once, one a low-pitched growl and the other a very high-pitched squeal or whistle, which helps explain why it sounds so unique.

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