Reindeer (rangifer tarandus, Gray), the name usually given to the old world species of rangerine deer, of which the American woodland and barren ground caribou are believed to be mere varieties. The description and figure given under Caribou will answer for the European animal, which, like its American variety, differs greatly in size; the large Siberian variety is ridden by the Tungusians, who also use it for draught, as the Laplanders do their smaller animal. The tame reindeer of the Laplander does not exceed in size, and often does not equal, the English red deer or stag. After the casting of the coat the hair is brownish yellow, but as the dog days approach it becomes whiter, until it is at last almost entirely white. Round the eye the color is always black. The longest hair is under the neck. The mouth, tail, and parts near the latter, are white, and the feet at the insertion of the hoof are surrounded with a white ring. The hair of the body is so thick that the skin cannot be seen when it is put aside. "When the hair is cast, it does not come away with the root, but breaks at the base. The horns are cylindrical, with a short branch behind, compressed at the top, and palmated with many segments, beginning to curve back in the middle, and are an ell and a quarter long.

A single branch sometimes, but seldom two, springs from each horn in front, very near the base, frequently equalling the length of the head, compressed at the top and branched. The domestic reindeer of Lapland feeds wholly on a species of lichen peculiar to the country, for which he roots under the snow with his nose, after the fashion of swine. He will eat no dried fodder, unless it be perhaps the river horsetail, equise-tum fluviatile. To the Laplander the reindeer is invaluable, being in fact his ox, his sheep, and his horse, in one animal. He is too valuable to kill in general, although his meat is delicious; the milk of the herds is the principal support of the owner and his family; while, as an animal of draught, its speed, endurance, and particular adaptation to travelling on snow, render it the most valuable of creatures to men dwelling in the frozen latitudes. The ordinary weight drawn by this animal is 240 lbs., but he can travel with 300. Its speed and endurance are very great; it has been known to run at the rate of nearly 19 m. an hour, and it is not unusual for it to travel 150 m. in 19 hours. - During prehistoric times, in the latter part of the palaeolithic division of the stone age, the reindeer inhabited southern France, and formed one of the objects of chase of the cave men of central Europe. Its coexistence there with the musk ox and other arctic species shows that the climate was then much colder than at present, probably owing to the greater extent of the glaciers descending from the Alps and Pyrenees. Caesar in his "Commentaries" refers to the reindeer in central Europe; it probably lived in the north of Scotland as late as the 12th century, and in Denmark as late as the 16th.