From Christmas art to movies, Reindeer are common in most of our holiday-themed fantasies. Most of us know these deer species as the animals responsible for pulling Santa’s sleigh and nothing more! However, there are so many interesting things to know about reindeer, also called caribou in North America. Here are five interesting facts you never knew about reindeer.
You can call them a special breed
You don’t need to be a scientist or zoologist to know that reindeer is a deer species. Well, they are not just a regular species; they have some features that make them special.
Reindeer are the only deer species in which both male and female can have antlers– the pair of bony structures on their heads. Furthermore, the antlers of the males can grow up to 1.4 meters in length.
Pulling Santa’s sleigh didn’t come from nowhere
The common images and depictions of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh aren’t total fiction. If you’ve seen “Frozen II,” you must have watched how Sven used reindeer to pull sleighs through the snow. Well, that’s based on real history.
The Northuldra Tribe in the movie actually depicted the Sámi people. These people used to pull sleighs through the snow with the help of reindeer. They are very strong animals and used to help people in the snow.
Water and snow have nothing on them!
The fact that reindeer are always found in snowy areas already tells us that these animals don’t get affected by the snow. They spend 40% of their lives in the snow, and their cloven hooves help them stand on it.
Aside from the cloven hooves, reindeer have hollow furs that trap heat. Interestingly, these animals are also very good at swimming- and even when the water is chilly, they can barely get affected by it.
What do they look like in reality?
We’ve seen various sizes of reindeer in Christmas-themed movies, making it quite difficult to know what to expect in real life. Well, these animals aren’t all about the huge antlers; they are big!
The males can weigh up to 250 kilograms, and that’s thrice the weight of an average human. Male reindeer can also grow up to 1.2 meters in height at the shoulder- and the females are only a bit smaller.
They are also prey
Reindeer’s innocent love for lichen, which is a moss-like plant, doesn’t make them immune to predators. Hungry predators like bears and wolverines often hunt them. Unfortunately, that’s not all.
For thousands of years, reindeer have been hunted by humans for their antlers, which can be made into different types of tools. Humans also hunt reindeer for their fur, milk, and meat. Most Scandinavian countries have a culture of herding reindeer.