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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!

Caribou Keds

The all-terrain shoe is a hiker's dream. Even better would be a shoe that adapted itself to each season -- an ice skate in the winter, a sneaker in the spring, a waterproof boot in the fall. If such a shoe is ever developed, it should be named after the Caribou, which possesses its own remarkable footwear. Or is hoofwear the preferred term?

A Caribou can run at speeds of almost 50 miles per hour. That's fast considering the terrain it must traverse. The Caribou's footpads help it cope. In the summer, when the tundra is soft and wet, the footpads become spongy like the soles of tennis shoes and provide extra traction. In the winter, when snow and ice are the norm, the pads shrink and firm up, while the rim of the hoof, like an ice skate's blade, bites into the ice and crusted snow to keep the animal from slipping.

Click here to learn more about Caribou.