Today we drove to the Large Animal Research Station for the University of Alaska where we took a special tour to see the Muskox and Reindeer. We saw two baby reindeer and five muskox babies in addition to some adults.
Some scientists think reindeer were one of the first domesticated animals. They were first domesticated around 2,000 years ago. Both the male and female antlers fall off each year and regrow. A male’s can grow up to 51 inches long and weigh up to 33 pounds, which makes them useful for fighting. The females only grow up to 20 inches.They are very social creatures. They feed, travel and rest in herds. They eat only vegetation.
Female reindeer have a gestation period of about 7.5 months. At birth, a baby reindeer, called a calf, can weigh from 5 to 20 pounds. Calves are able to stand after their first hour of life and within a week they start eating solid food in addition to their mother’s milk. They mature from 4 to 6 years and live 15 to 18 years.
Reindeer antlers which are shed each year.
An arctic hoofed mammal noted for its thick coat and strong odor emitted during the seasonal rut by males. This musky odor is used to attract females during mating season. Both the male and female have horns, but the horns of the bulls are much larger.The coat consists of a long, coarse, outer layer, and a short, fine under hair. Muskoxen have cloven hooves, all four of which are the same size.
Mature bulls are about 5 feet high at the shoulder and weigh 600-800 lbs. Cows are smaller, approximately 4 feet high at the shoulder and weigh 400-500 pounds. These animals were around during the Ice Age and have not evolved since then.
Muskoxen are valued for their meat—about 260 animals a year are killed by hunters. They are also valued for wildlife viewing, for the artwork made from their horns, and for their soft undercoat, considered the world’s warmest wool for its weight.
This muskox is missing a chunk of his horns.
Muskox skull with horns
Fairbanks Visitor Center
Fairbanks Ice Museum
We watched a wonderful movie presentation of the ice sculpting competition that takes place in Fairbanks each year in March. Afterwards we walked through the museum and posed with some of the sculptures and road down the ice slide on a sled.
Tom sitting in the Ice Train
The Ice Bar
A snow ski
Sights Around Town
Pioneer Park Palace Theatre
Tonight we went to see the Golden Heart Review which was a hilarious musical comedy about life in the last frontier. Through songs and stories the cast presented historical highlights of Fairbanks , also know as the Golden Heart City.
- We drove 50 miles in the Honda while the motorhome stayed parked-6,383 miles total so far
- Riverview RV Park in North Pole - $45.86 per night
- Sunrise at 3:35AM and Sunset will be at 12:15 AM