Reindeer are not just for Christmas. Check out some cool facts about reindeer for everyone to enjoy!
1. Reindeer and humans have been working together for a long time. They were among the first known animals that humans domesticated.
2. Reindeer are the only mammals we know who can see UV light, which allows them to see many things that we can’t, such as polar bears against pure white snow.
3. Reindeer live in huge herds, which can sometimes reach 500,000 individuals in size. They tend to huddle together more when it’s colder, like penguins.
4. Reindeer in Scandinavia eat lichen which grows under the heavy snowfall. They use their great sense of smell to locate this lichen, which keeps their blood warm even in freezing temperatures.
5. Reindeer’s noses are designed to warm the air they breathe in before it gets to their lungs. This is done by an abundance of blood vessels located in the nose. Sometimes if there are more blood vessels than usual, the reindeer’s nose can actually be red.
6. When the temperature drops too low, reindeer lower the temperature of their legs to match the arctic temperatures, which lets them keep their core body temperature warm.
7. The eyes of arctic reindeer change throughout the year based on season. They shift between yellow in the summer and blue in the winter.
8. Both male and female reindeer have antlers, which make them unique among the other members of the deer family.
9. The name reindeer actually doesn’t originate with pulling sleds at all. It comes from the Norse word for deer, “hreinn”.
10. The forest reindeer in Finland are the largest reindeer in the world. They are very important culturally to the indigenous Sami people of Finland. Some areas of Scandinavia have laws forbidding those who don’t belong to indigenous communities to herd reindeer.
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11. Reindeer are very strong and make great use of their energy. A nearly newborn reindeer calf can easily outrun an adult human.
12. The reindeer’s connection to Santa Claus is actually more recent than you might think. The first mention was in 1821, in the story “A New Year’s Present”.
13. Reindeer are called caribou in North America. Caribou migrate the furthest distance of any land mammal, about 3,000 miles in a year.
14. Reindeer are fantastic swimmers, sometimes needing to cross large bodies of water in their migrations. Their top swimming speed tends to be around 6 miles per hour, though they usually swim about 4 miles per hour, which is more sustainable and can bring them across wide lakes.
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