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Adaptations of the Caribou

Rangifer tarandus granti
Adaptations of the Caribou

Adaptation (Structure and Function)

Adaptation in a population of living things happens as a result of an adaptive trait. This is any inheritable trait that increases it’s survival rate so that it can live longer, reproduce longer, and have more offspring (that also have that trait). Adaptive traits can improve an animal's ability to find food, make a safer home, escape predators, survive cold or heat or lack of water.

The caribou have developed many helpful adaptations for living in the far north. These adaptive traits include having large, fur-covered hooves for gripping the ice as they make their way across the frozen landscape in their annual migrations. They also have a warm, thick coat to protect them from both extreme cold in winter and insect attacks in summer. They can survive eating only lichens that grow on the barren rocks on the tundra. These physical adaptations make it possible to survive in their harsh, northern climate.

Adaptations of the Caribou

For Discussion and Critical Thinking:

The caribou has adaptive traits that helps it survive out on the frozen tundra
1. Name one of the caribou’s adaptive traits and how it helps them survive:

2. Name one behavioral adaptation that the caribou all do together at the same time each year:

3. Why does the caribou do this?

4. Name two other animals that live on the tundra and describe an adaptive traits that helps them survive.
4. Do you have any physical traits that help you survive? Discuss one.

Recommended Books & Products

Wild Science Workbook
Activities that Bridge Outdoor Exploration with Classroom Science
The activities in Wild Science will integrate outdoor exploration with the understanding and appreciation of science and environmental issues. Using Wild Science as a guide, we invite you to rediscover your sense of wonder about the natural world and share it with the children you know.

Wild Science Workbook

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Adaptations of the Caribou" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2020. July 3, 2020
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.

cheetah, tiger, panda, fox, bear, cougar