Reindeer Games: 9 Fun Facts About Santa’s Favorite Animal

There’s less than a week until Christmas, and that means Santa Claus and his elves are hard at work packing up presents for the children of the world. In honor of Santa’s latest upcoming worldwide trek, we’ve gathered up some fun facts about his preferred mode of transportation: reindeer!


800px-Reindeer_in_Kebnekaise
(via Wikimedia Commons)

All reindeer— both male and female— grow antlers. They shed their antlers at different times of the year: most of the bulls lose theirs around December, while most cows keep theirs until the spring.


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(via Polar Trec)

Reindeer and caribou are the same animal (Rangifer tarandus)! North America refers to the continent’s resident reindeer as caribou.


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(via Mum’s In The Know)

Instead of leaving carrots for Santa’s reindeer, consider leaving them some reindeer moss! The favorite food of reindeer everywhere, reindeer moss is a type of lichen and is found in the tundra.


800px-Caribou
(via Wikimedia Commons)

During the most recent ice age, reindeer could be found as far south as what is now Nevada, Tennessee, and Spain!


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(by Kia Krarup Hansen, via The BMJ)

Rudolph could be real: some reindeer actually have red noses! This is due to a concentration of blood vessels in the nose that help regulate the reindeers’ body temperature.


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(via Wikimedia Commons)

A reindeer can run up to 50 miles per hour, and swim 6.2 miles per hour. Pretty impressive.


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(via Imgur)

Baby reindeer are able to run soon after they are born!


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(via Christmas Reindeer)

Though reindeer have been domesticated for many, many years, they only became associated with Santa Claus and Christmas in 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “The Night Before Christmas” was published.


Titanic-Reindeer-Christmas
(via Totally Costumes)

The names Donner and Blitzen mean thunder and lightning in German. Rudolph was not one of Santa’s reindeer until the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was written by Robert May for the Montgomery Ward department stores to distribute to children.

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