When you think of reindeer you probably imagine Rudolph and his chums pulling Father Christmas’ sleigh. Rudolph’s nose lights up the sky with its bright red glow and all of Santa’s reindeer can fly. But, of course, these reindeer are magical and have powers ordinary reindeer lack. So what do we know about real world reindeer? Let’s find out with some random reindeer facts:
- Reindeer are brilliantly adapted to cold climates. They can be found in northern parts of Europe, Asia and North America
- Reindeer once roamed all over Britain. They were hunted to extinction here around 1200AD
- Reindeer are the only kind of deer in which both sexes have antlers – in other species only the males have them
- They have an excellent sense of smell and can sniff out lichen beneath up to 60cm of snow
- In America they call wild reindeer ‘caribou’ but farmed reindeer they call ‘reindeer’. Why they make such a distinction is a mystery!
- Reindeer migrate every year, covering distances of up to 3,000 miles. They can run at 50 mph and swim (yes, swim!) at 6 mph. Baby reindeer (calves) can keep up with the adults just 40 minutes after they are born
- Herds of migrating reindeer can contain as many as half a million animals
- Reindeer were not associated with Christmas until Clement Moore’s poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ was written in 1823. Moore introduced the world to Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph joined the group in the 1930s after the children’s book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert May was published
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I hope you enjoyed these reindeer facts. If you’d like some more Christmas related questions then why not download our free 2016 Family Christmas Quiz? It’s a fun way to spend time with your family over Christmas, but don’t get too competitive – it’s only a game after all!