reindeer Species in Scarterra | World Anvil


Reindeer a herd running migratory herbivore often found in the cold northern regions of Scarterra.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

Reindeer are the only living species of deer where both the males and females have antlers. Males tend to have bigger antlers, at least when fully grown, but males usually grow and drop their antlers at predictable intervals while females do not.

Genetics and Reproduction

Males are thereotically sexually mature after a year or two, but most cannot effectively compete with other males until they turn at least four years old.   Gestation typically about 30 weeks, and single birth calves are the norm. Calves are cared for by their mother though the whole herd will defend their calves.

Growth Rate & Stages

Reindeer can usually walk within minutes of birth and they can keep up with migrating adults after a mere day or two.   Calves grow pretty fast, making up half or more of their full adult weight by the time they are "yearlings." Most reindeer reach the size and weight of their physical prime between four and six years old.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Reindeer are natural herbivores. Reindeer commonly eat mosses, herbs, ferns, grasses, and the shoots and leaves of shrubs and trees, especially willow and birch. In winter, they make do with lichen and fungi.   Lichen is often nicknamed "reindeer moss" because very few other animals besides reindeer can digest this meal.   Reindeer are often picky eaters in the spring and summer but during the fall and winter will eat things they would ordinarily turn their nose up at.   Most domesticated reindeer still move around alot so they eat mostly the same plants their wild counterparts eat.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Wild reindeer typically run in herds of about 10 to 200 individuals. Most females stay with the herd of their birth their whole lives. Aggressive Sexual competition between males means most males end up leaving their herd and joining a "bachelor" heard shortly before or after becoming adults.   On rare occasions herds merge temporarily and form megaherds.


Reindeer commonly run wild, but domesticated reindeer are almost as common. Different humans, orcs, and gnomes all have subcultures that have domesticated reindeer. Each of these races claims to be the first to domesticate reindeer and there is evidence that reindeer have been independently domesticated by each of these groups.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Reindeer meat is a staple of many tundra dwelling barbarians. The taiga elves and almost every barbarian tribe in the far north regularly hunt reindeer.   Many orc tribes herd domesticated reindeer. A few humans and gnomes have either copied them or independently domesticated reindeer.   Reindeer are hunted primarily for their meat and fur. Given that life is harsh in the frozen north, reindeer hunters and herders alike make sure to not to waste even the tiniest edible portions.   Reindeer milk is highly prized in the cold regions for its high fat content. Milk from a rare female giant reindeer can be used as a potion reagents if harvested carefully.   Most reindeer hunters and herders take reindeer very seriously in a spiritually sense and they will decorate shrines and holy sites with antlers.   Under certain circumstances, Bone shapers can forge reindeer antlers into valuable reagents.   Domesticated reindeer commonly serve as pack animal or are used to pull sleighs. Giant reindeer are highly prized as personal steeds for great warriors in their tribes.   Gnomes can ride full grown regular reindeer if they are properly trained.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Scarterran reindeer are very common in the northern regions of West Colassia, espcially the The Great Colassian Tundra and the taigas just south of the tundra.   Among reindeer keepers, giant reindeer are especially prized.   There are reindeer in the northern region of East Colassia but not near as many. Locally, the East Colassians call them "caribou" but the few rangers who have seen "caribou" and "reindeer" attest they are the same manner of beast other than the fact that caribou never manifest gigantism.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Like most deer species, reindeer have keen senses of hearing and smell.   Reindeer joints make a light clicking noise that alerts them when they or someone else is separated from the herd.   Reindeer have noses evolved to warm up air they breath in before it reaches their lungs.


  Most of my real world facts about reindeer used in the article came from I altered the "facts" about reindeer for differences between Scarterra and Earth or to follow "The Rule of Cool".
15 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
Average Height
Male reindeer tend to be 28 to 53 inches (70 to 135 centimeters) tall from hooves to shoulder, and around 5.9 to 6.8 f (1.8 to 2.1 m) long. Females are typically smaller, around 5.5 to 6.2 feet (1.7 to 1.9 m) long.
Average Weight
Males weigh 143 to 529 pounds (65 to 240 kilograms), and females weigh 121 to 308 pounds (55 to 140 kg)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Most reindeer display a strong airy elemental ethnicity with small splashes of watery traits or a pinch of earthy traits. Domesticated reindeer tend to have more earthy traits and wild reindeer tend to have more watery traits but there are exceptions in both groups.   Scarterran reindeer fur ranges in various shades of white, grey, brown, and on rare occasions black or blue representing an unusual high amount of earthy or watery traits respectively.

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