The woodland caribou is a marvel of stamina and endurance that can easily withstand months of frigid temperatures and inclement weather during a Canadian winter. Even its antlers have a strategic role to play.
The caribou’s impressive antlers are commonly known to indicate a bull’s health, and the “weapon” used to compete for breeding rights. Incredibly, antlers fall off shortly after the autumn rut and grow back the following spring—in less than 120 days! Antlers are one of the fastest-growing tissues on Earth and can grow 2.5 cm per day.
Lesser known is the fact that female caribou also grow antlers, and are the only deer species to do so. Their antlers are much smaller and are used to defend against predators and to compete for valuable feeding sites. Female caribou keep their antlers during the winter until after they have given birth—an ingenious move by Mother Nature to safeguard pregnant caribou and their offspring.