Santa’s Helpers: 9 Curious Facts About Reindeer
Santa and his eight tiny reindeer will soon be dancing and prancing on rooftops from the beaches of Hawaii all the way to the Maine shoreline. They’re responsible for getting presents to all the boys and girl around the country, but there’s so little we know about Santa’s hooved helpers. We did a little bit of research on our flying furry friends to share with you. Here are 9 curious facts about reindeer.
That Coffee You’re Drinking… Could be called “Reindeer Coffee.” Caribou and reindeer are the same thing.
Everyone Sounds Off Reindeer are the only species of deer in which both male and females have horns.
Light My Way Reindeer is the only mammal that can see ultraviolet light. The UV light helps them find food in the winter when there is little daylight. This is also why their eyes change color from golden brown in the summer to blue in the winter.
Ladies Lead Male reindeer shed their antlers in early winter — before Christmas. Female reindeer keep their antlers until the snow starts to melt in the spring. That means those tiny reindeer who haul a sleigh full of presents is an all-girl posse.
Water Sports Reindeer are excellent swimmers which is due to their special hooves which are very different regular deer hooves. Reindeer hooves are big, cloven and spread out. When they swim, their hooves act like paddles to help them move. On land — specifically snow-covered land — because the hooves are wide, they act as snowshoes.
Winter Coats Reindeer found in North America spend most of their time in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies so they have specially designed coats to weather the cold of the deep north. They have two layers of fur to keep them warm. There is a soft under-fur and on top of that is the “guard hair.” The texture of the guard hair is rough and each strand is hollow. This helps trap their body heat as well as help reindeer float when they swim. But their coats don’t end on their bodies — they extend to cover their noses as well! This helps filter out the cold air when they breathe in and keeps their muzzles warm when they root for food in the snow.
Scandinavian Roots The eight tiny reindeer that haul Santa’s sleigh are likely from Svalbard — a Norwegian archipelago. They’re about 70 lbs lighter than standard caribou and have shorter legs.
Santa’s Originals The eight tiny reindeer — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen — were introduced to us in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) but Rudolph didn’t get his big break to work with the big guy for another 100 years. The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was published in a booklet in 1939.
Santa Speed One of the reasons Santa probably chose reindeer to haul his sleigh to every house in one night is because they’re speedy! Reindeer are faster than wolves who are much smaller and have to carry less. They can run up to about 50 miles an hour! That’s fast delivery if you’re waiting on special gifts from our jolly friend from the North Pole!
Look to the The Lakeside Collection for all your special deliveries this holiday season! We may not have the charm of eight tiny reindeer to present your gifts, but we do have thousands of items at discount prices for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list. And if you’re stumped on what to get someone, check out our Perfect Present Gift App to steer you to the right present.