25 Reindeer Facts that Everyone should Know

Reindeer is one of the most beautiful animals in the North. Graceful and beautiful reindeer are often mentioned in folk legends and fairy tales of various Northern people. These animals are the symbol of Christmas in many countries and extremely intelligent, thus, learning something new about them will certainly be curious.

1. In the United States people, call reindeer – “caribou”.

Reindeer is the European name of the animals. In the United States, they are known as caribou.

2. Both female and male reindeer grow antlers.

Although female horns reach only 19.7 inches (50 cm), males’ horns can grow 39.4 inches (100cm) to 55 inches (140 cm) according to some data. 

3. Reindeer are quite large animals. 

The length of the deer is about 6.5 feet (2 meters), and the height is 3.3 feet (1 meter). They have long, thick and wavy wool.

4. The horns of reindeer contain a lot of calcium and other nutrients.

When the reindeer shed them, different rodents quickly eat the horns.

5. They are very social creatures.

Therefore, they live in large groups from 6 to 13 years.

6. In a herd, it is easier for them to be protected from danger and to make long transitions to another habitat.

Sometimes they cover distances of more than 621 miles (1000 km).

7. The deer are built to endure a hard frost.

Their noses heat the air before it gets into their lungs. And their entire body, including their hooves, covered with thick wool. 

8. Reindeer are herbivores.

Which means that they eat exclusively plant-based food. The summer diet of deer consists of grass, sedge, green leaves of bushes and young shoots of trees. In autumn, they eat mushrooms and foliage. 

9. Reindeer have a great sense of smell.

In winter, their outstanding sense of smell helps them to find food under a pile of snow.

10. No matter how well adapted they are to the local climate, it is very difficult to get food under a thick layer of snow.

They spend too much energy on this, because of which they often weaken and become easy prey for predators.

11. Northern people living in close proximity to reindeer do not eat mushrooms.

They do not even collect edible mushrooms not to deprive the reindeer of food. Reindeers are crucial for the survival of many local villages that are dwelling in frozen lands.

12. Reindeer have unique hooves.

Reindeer hooves change depending on the time of year. In summer, when the ground is soft, the sole of the hooves become spongy. In winter, the hoof pads become tight to expose the edge of the hoof, which cuts into the snow and ice, which avoids slipping. 

13. These animals are great swimmers. 

There is confirmed evidence of how they swam across 16.5-23 feet (5-7 m) wide rivers, despite the very low water temperature. 

14. They are the only mammals capable of distinguishing ultraviolet radiation.

The human eye is not able to see the radiation of this spectrum; the reindeer see waves up to 320 nanometers.

15. Reindeer is the most important type of deer. 

There are many deer in the world, but no deer breed provides so many important services to man as a strong reindeer. 

16. For some people, Reindeer is a source of meat, milk, and skins for the production of clothing and shoes.

The life of the inhabitants of the North depends entirely on reindeer. Therefore, it is impossible to allow these animals to go extinct. 

17. Reindeer have wonderful wool.

The reindeer skin serves as good thermal insulation. Northerners say that you will never freeze in clothes made of reindeer skin and wool, such as Mukluk. Mukluk are boots traditionally made of reindeer skin. 

18. Reindeer milk is very nutritious.

It contains 22% milk fat and 10% protein. For comparison, cow’s milk has only 3-4% milk fat.

19. Males often fight over females, but they do not kill each other.

Sometimes, fierce battles erupt between males over females. However, they get away with not deadly damages such as broken horns and minor scars.

20. The gestation period of Female reindeer is about 7.5 months.

Usually, they give birth to only one cub at a time, although there were some cases where they gave birth to up to four cubs at a time.

21. According to legends, eight reindeer lead Santa Claus’s sleigh.

Ninth reindeer is Rudolph who is the youngest of the reindeer. Rudolph 100 years younger than his friends. Nevertheless, now-it is the most famous deer in the whole team of Santa Claus.

22. In the Arctic, there are about 2.5 million reindeer scattered in more than 20 populations.

Unfortunately, most of these populations are declining. 

23. The main threats are poaching and uncontrolled hunting, as well as the imperfect hunting laws.

For example, the world’s largest Taimyr population has almost halved over the past ten years precisely because hunting is carried out in violation of existing terms and volumes.

24. Wolves cause the greatest damage to reindeer herds.

Wolverines, arctic foxes, and in some places, brown bears pose a great threat to reindeer, especially to young ones.

25. The development of the oil and gas sector also threatens the existence of reindeer.

Pipelines, roads, power lines, rapidly being built in the tundra. Those activities interfere with seasonal migrations of reindeer and can lead to the complete disappearance of the species in some regions.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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