Caribou have short, stocky bodies, short tails and faces, and thick coats that protect them from cold weather. The also have long, wide hooves that help them to maneuver through snow and water and get even larger in the winter. Caribou use their hooves to dig out lichen, their primary source of food during the winter, which sets them apart from other large mammals and allows them to survive during the coldest seasons.
One cold climate adaptation of caribou is their hollow hair coats. Hollow hairs trap more heat than solid hair. Caribou furs are prized as boot and coat making materials by indigenous peoples in the far north. Caribou also gain a thick winter coat which is shed during the spring. Caribou also have large nostrils which warm the frigid air before it enters their lungs.
Caribou Skin Parka: Photo Credit, The British Museum
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