Photo Credit: Eva Mårtensson
They may be one of the most recognisable animals on the planet (especially at Christmas), but what exactly do you really know about reindeer? A lot of our understanding and knowledge about these proud, magnificent beasts comes from Christmas folklore and their ability to pull Santa’s sleigh, which of course is a feat in itself!
Reindeer are very important animals to certain groups of people who live in Arctic and sub Arctic regions, as they can be semi domesticated to perform menial tasks. Also known as ‘caribou’, the reindeer is a species of deer that will always be held close to our hearts, and here’s a few interesting facts about these amazing creatures.
Reindeer love to roam around and are never kept by a need for a certain ‘territory’. They have been known to venture as many miles as 3,000 in a year, making them by far the terrestrial mammal to travel the longest distances. Most animals like to find their home, mark it, and then stake it out as their own, but reindeer are far more free spirited than that. Only the whale can match it for distances covered over a year, though obviously not on land, that would look a bit weird!
Photo By © JohntheFinn
Clean Set of Hoofs
They may be famous for flying through the air, but at the speed these babies fly whilst running it would be no surprise if they took off! Reindeer can clock up to an astounding 48 mph when at full speed, perfect for helping pull Santa’s sleigh through the night sky to deliver presents to all those that have been good.
Photo Credit: HaRee
As they live in the coldest climates on the planet, it’s very important that reindeer are kept warm all year round, and they manage this in the same way that polar bears do. Instead of having a velvet like suit, the hairs on their body are hollow. This allows them to trap in air to keep them insulated from the elements. They also have an interesting circulatory system, which allows cold blood into their limbs whilst drawing heat from the warm blood in their core. Mother nature truly is an amazing thing!
Reindeers make very little noise, and only let out a little peep during mating season in the autumn. When they do make a sound, it’s not a roar, or even a moo! It’s actually a rattling noise that is made due to a large air sac in their neck. This allows them to not only attract females, but also deter other males who could be looking for a slice of the action!
So as you can see reindeer truly are amazing creatures. From their super quick speed all the way through to their insulated coat, the reindeer is more than just the creature that pulls Santa’s sleigh. They are a finely tuned athlete that needs as much care and attention as every other animal on the planet.
Christopher Seale writes about nature. When he’s not observing animals in their natural habitat and explaining their secrets, his main hobby is eating as much as possible.