Fun Reindeer Facts

It's fun to learn interesting reindeer facts at holiday time, when we're all thinking about Santa and his magical sleigh-pulling team. But what do you know about reindeer? Here are some fun facts to share with your friends and family.

  • The reindeer family includes caribou as well as a few smaller subspecies. In fact, reindeer and Caribou are essentially the same animal, although reindeer are domesticated and caribou are wild.
  • Reindeer are found in the arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia. Reindeer have thick, multi-layered fur that is specially suited for the harsh arctic climate where they live.
  • Male reindeer can sometimes weigh as much as 700 pounds. Females are smaller, weighing only about 350 pounds.
  • Male reindeer are called bulls and females are called cows. Baby reindeer are called calves.
  • Reindeer typically have a lifespan of around 10 years.
  • Reindeer are the only deer species in which both the male and females grow antlers, although the males' antlers are bigger.
  • Reindeer shed and regrow their antlers every year. Males usually shed their antlers by early December, while females usually don't shed their antlers until after they give birth, in the spring.
  • Reindeer usually mate in the fall, and their young are born the following spring. A reindeer will usually give birth to one or two calves at a time.
  • Reindeer calves can begin grazing by the time they are 45 days old, although they will continue drinking mother's milk until the autumn after their birth.
  • Reindeer eat mostly lichen, grasses, willow and birch leaves. However, they are not picky eaters, and will eat any vegetation they can find in the tundra. They have been known to eat bird eggs and sometimes even mushrooms.
  • Reindeer have an excellent sense of smell. Because food is scarce in the Arctic, reindeer use their great sense of smell to detect food buried deep beneath the snow.
  • Reindeer are excellent swimmers.
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