10Best Things to Know about Reindeer

  • Surprising Facts about Reindeer

    With the holiday focus on reindeer, we wanted to share some fun reindeer facts so you can amaze your friends.  

    Photo courtesy of Artpilot

  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Caribou ?

    In North America, the reindeer is also known as the caribou.  The word 'reindeer' is typically used to refer to Eurasian varieties.  But the bearded guy in the big red suit does not use the term 'caribou.'   

    Photo courtesy of Jeff McGraw

  • Reindeer Hail from Near the North Pole

    Reindeer are native to Arctic, Subarctic, tundra, boreal and mountainous regions of North America, Europe and Siberia.  

    Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages

  • Reindeer are not Invincible

    There are several sub-species of reindeer, and sadly, at least one has already gone extinct.

    Photo courtesy of Paul Loewen

  • Ecotourism in Swedish Lapland lets visitors experience Sami culture and their connection to reindeer.

    Honey, We Need More Reindeer Food . . .

    Several Arctic and Subarctic peoples hunt and herd reindeer - for their milk, antlers, hides, meat . . . and for transportation. (We have a hunch that those reindeer probably pull sleds instead of sleighs.  But we could be wrong.) Reindeer are essential to some communities for their use in food, shelter and even clothing, but they have occasionally been adopted as pets.  It's estimated that there are 3.4 million semi-domesticated reindeer.

    Photo courtesy of Staffan Widstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

  • The Hairy Truth

    Reindeer have unique hair in their hide - it traps air, providing them with excellent insulation.   This same design also keeps them buoyant in water, which allows them to swim in places which would kill us, like the Arctic Ocean.  They are very strong swimmers - a strong-moving river is no problem.  

    Photo courtesy of okyela

  • Rack Facts

    Both sexes typically grow antlers in nearly every sub-species.  But males always grow them, and males typically grow larger antlers than females.  

    Photo courtesy of RONSAN4D

  • Herder Packing List: Lots of Layers

    Looking for a new profession?  Ten countries can claim reindeer herders; USA (Alaska), Canada, Scotland, Greenland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, China and Mongolia.  This career choice would not work for people who like to wear or see bikinis on a regular basis.  

    Photo courtesy of Photick/Kai Honkanen

  • The Rudolph Dilemma

    Males start growing their antlers in February, but females don't start until May.   The male then drops his antlers in November, and is without them until they begin to grow again in February.  The females keep theirs throughout the winter season, however, and shed them when their calves are born in May.  If you're remembering that the legendary Rudolph had antlers on Christmas Eve, you'll wonder if perhaps he wasn't misnamed.    

    Photo courtesy of Roger Asbury

  • Happy 50th!

    The 2014 holiday season marks the 50th anniversary of the Christmas classic TV show "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."  If you missed it when it aired, a trip to the local library or an online visit to streaming service will remedy the problem.   

    Photo courtesy of monkeybusinessimages

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