HOW THE REINDEER LIVE 371
fresher pasture. In August and September, when the sun has grown too strong for them, they seek the shade of the woods again.
In their wild state reindeer are great travellers, and as they are very strong, and excellent swimmers, they go immense distances, especially the reindeer of North America, who will cross the ice to Greenland in the early part of the year, and stay there till the end of October, when they come back to their old quarters. They are most sociable creatures, and are never happy unless they have three or four hundred companions, while herds of a thousand have sometimes been counted. The females and calves always are placed in front, and the big bucks bring up the rear, to see that nobody falls out of the ranks from weakness.
We are accustomed to think of a reindeer as having thick brownish hair, but this is only partly true of him. Like many animals that live in the north, the colour of the hair is different in winter from what it is in summer. Twice a year the reindeer changes his coat, and the immense thick covering which has been so comfortable all through the fierce cold, begins to fall in early spring and a short hair to take its place, so that by the time summer comes, he is nice and cool, and looks quite another creature from what he did in the winter. As the days shorten and grow frosty, the coat becomes longer and closer, and by the time the first snow falls the deer is quite prepared to meet it.
Though reindeer prefer mountain-sides when they can get them, their broad and wide-cleft hoofs are well adapted for the lowlands of the north of Europe and of America, which are a morass in summer and a snow-field in winter. Here are to be seen whole herds of them, either walking with a regular rapid step, or else going at a quick trot; but in either case always making a peculiar crackling noise with their feet. They have an extraordinarily acute sense of smell, and frill detect a