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  • What? They weren't?

    *disappointedly unpacking caribou field guide*

    On second thought . . . maybe I'll still come up to hang out with you at Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn.

    September 18, 2008

  • Caribou are quite common here, c_b, and where there's one there are usually several hundred more, at least in the winter. I've seen herds of thousands on many occasions.

    They...ummm...weren't in chorus lines.

    September 18, 2008

  • *is awestruck, just like that Wisconsin guy said*

    September 18, 2008

  • They rest their hooves on the hindquarters of the caribou in front of them, kind of like a chorus line forming across the tundra. Then they click their heels--tendons, actually--rhythmically and move in huge circles, periodically kicking their right hind legs out and grunting in unison. It's an awesome sight.

    Anything else, yarb? I'm kind of running out of good caribou information.

    C'mon up, reesetee. We'll dance with the caribou.

    September 18, 2008

  • Have you seen La Foule, skip? *is a little jealous*

    September 18, 2008

  • Weren't we all planning to visit skip at some point? *packing caribou field guide*

    September 18, 2008

  • Do they sleep on their backs, or their sides? Or splayed on their bellies?

    You don't have to answer that...

    September 18, 2008

  • They sleep lying down in wide open spaces to give themselves time to get away from wolves. In winter their preferred spot is the middle of a frozen lake.

    September 18, 2008

  • Amazing. What about sleeping? Do they sleep on the hoof, as it were?

    September 18, 2008

  • They walk constantly. Their main forage is lichen, which is not exactly loaded with nutrients. They have to keep walking in order to be able to find enough to eat.

    September 18, 2008

  • So how do they stop?

    Or do they never stop walking?

    September 18, 2008

  • Wow. Fascinating animal facts! :-D

    September 18, 2008

  • Cool! (p.s. someone needs to tell this guy, who's from Wisconsin)

    Thanks, skip!

    September 18, 2008

  • Caribou have a tendon at the back of their leg that automatically snaps the leg back into walking position without the caribou having to expend any energy to do. You can hear it when they walk--even more impressive when you are listening to a large herd. The click isn't their hooves on the ground--it's the tendon snapping back into place.

    September 18, 2008

  • "French explorers in Canada called the endless herds of caribou, the world's most efficient walkers, La Foule—'The Throng.' To see La Foule, as I had the previous summer ... is to be awestruck—there are so many caribou that an entire slop looks as if it is undulating. As they near, a chorus of grunting and clicking hooves accompanies the dramatic choreography of their movements."

    —James Campbell, The Final Frontiersman (New York and London: Atria Books, 2004), 264–265

    September 17, 2008