20 Fascinating Facts About Reindeer

Were you aware that reindeer have been domesticated for human use since the Bronze and Iron Ages?

It’s difficult to think of a reindeer without imagining Rudolph, no matter the time of year.

However, there’s far more to reindeer than just the red-nosed one!

If you want to learn more about reindeer, have a look at these 20 intriguing facts:

The Latin name for reindeer is Rangifer tarandus.

In North America, reindeer are commonly known as caribou. Caribou is the French interpretation of the Mi’kmaq tribe’s name for the animal, qalipu, which means “snow shoveller.”

They are typically native to Arctic and Subarctic regions.

Both males and females grow antlers.

Male antlers fall off in December, while young males lose theirs early in the spring. Females will shed theirs in the summer.

Antlers grow back every year under a fur called “velvet.”

Males lock antlers and compete for the opportunity to mate with females.

Reindeer can be hunted for their antlers, hides, meat, and milk. Not only can they be hunted, but they can also be domesticated.

It is believed that domesticated reindeer have existed since the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Male bull reindeer can measure up to 7 ft (2.14 meters) and weigh up to 700 lbs.

Female reindeer are usually smaller and can measure up to 6’7″ (2.05 meters), typically weighing between 121 and 308 lbs.

The Svalbard reindeer suffer from insular dwarfism.

Northern reindeer, such as the Peary caribou, have white fur, while Southern types, such as Woodland caribou, have darker fur.

Their fur is made up of two coats: a woolly undercoat, while the overcoat has hollow air-filled hairs.

A reindeer’s hoof can adapt to the seasons.

They are thought to be the only mammals capable of seeing ultraviolet light.

Reindeer are herbivores and have four-chambered stomachs.

Predators such as wolves often target young or ill reindeer.

Reindeer meat can be consumed, along with almost all of the internal organs.

Father Christmas’ reindeer are Rudolph, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen.


1. What is the difference between reindeer and caribou?

Reindeer and caribou are actually the same species of deer, but the term “reindeer” is used to refer to domesticated populations, while “caribou” is used to refer to wild populations. Reindeer are raised for their meat, milk, and hides in northern Europe and Asia, while caribou are found in the wild throughout North America, Greenland, and Siberia.

2. Why do reindeer have furry noses?

Reindeer have furry noses to help warm the air they breathe before it reaches their lungs in the cold Arctic temperatures where they live. The furry nose filters out the cold air and warms it up, making it easier for the reindeer to breathe.

3. How do reindeer survive in the cold?

Reindeer have several adaptations that help them survive in the cold Arctic climate. Their fur is thick and hollow, providing insulation against the cold. They also have a layer of fat under their skin, which helps keep them warm. Additionally, their hooves are large and wide, allowing them to walk on top of snow and ice, and their noses are furry, as mentioned above.

4. Can reindeer fly?

Despite what Christmas stories might tell you, reindeer cannot fly. However, they are excellent runners and can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. They are also strong swimmers and can cross rivers and lakes when necessary.

5. How do reindeer play a role in the culture of indigenous peoples?

Reindeer have been an important part of the culture of indigenous peoples in northern Europe and Asia for thousands of years. They are used for transportation, food, and clothing, and are also considered sacred by many indigenous groups. The Sami people of northern Scandinavia, for example, have a long history of reindeer herding and use every part of the animal for their subsistence and livelihood.

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