Throughout the year in Lapland, NOT spotting a reindeer is close to a miracle, as these animals often feed close to roads and dwellings. Spotting reindeer while skiing is not unusual, either. Even though they roam free, reindeer are semi-domesticated: half tame, half wild. Every animal you see in a Finnish forest is owned by a herder.
In the wild, reindeer are always on the move. They change their location – a grazing area that can be over a 1,000 sq km – according to the seasons and weather conditions. Their diet consists of more than 350 different types of plants. In winter, they mainly eat lichens.
Reindeer can be curious and might try to approach you, it’s better not to return the favour. According to the Finnish law, one is not allowed to disturb or frighten the reindeer in any way. For example, approaching an animal to take a photograph might startle it.
Keeping your distance can also keep you safe. During rutting season in autumn, lovesick stags may act in unpredictable ways. And be cautious while driving – especially if you see a reindeer warning sign – a herd of reindeer in the middle of the road is not an unusual sight for Lapland. But don’t worry, they’re not hitching a ride to their next location.