Let’s have a Christmas post that’s a bit out of the ordinary. I will cheat and use this one by Sue Coletta from Kill Zone Blog: Reindeer Fun, which is basically a list of reindeer trivia with a little bit of a Christmas emphasis.
1. A Reindeer By Any Other Name is Still a Reindeer
In some regions of the world, Reindeer are called caribou. In North America reindeer refers to Eurasian populations and caribou refers to wild populations. …
4. Santa’s Reindeer Must be Female
Since males grow antlers in February and females in May, they both finish growing antlers at the same time. But male and female reindeer shed antlers at different times of the year. Males drop antlers in November, leaving them antler-less till the spring. Female reindeer keep antlers through the winter months. They’re shed when calves are born in May.
Thus, since Santa’s reindeer all have antlers, he must have an all-female team.
Actually, that’s tricky. Female reindeer DO have antlers, but their antlers are nowhere near as big as the antlers of males. Most pictures of Santa’s sleigh with reindeer show male reindeer. Probably some images do show female reindeer though; the world is wide and probably some artist somewhere used female reindeer as the model.
To be sure, a lot of pictures of Santa’s sleigh with reindeer don’t show reindeer at all; they show whitetail deer, or possibly elk (I mean wapiti, the American elk), or some other random deer species, because artists often play fast and loose with the Cervidae family, alas.
Sue Coletta missed one neat thing about reindeer, which I will add:
11. Reindeer click when they walk
Tendons snap over sesamoid bones in the foot of reindeer, producing a clicking sound with every step they take. This may be a contact signal that helps herds stay together, especially in poor visibility, such as during a snow storm.
Therefore, if you not only hear hoofbeats on your rooftop, but a sharp clicking noise at the same time, that’s definitely Santa’s team.
I hope you’ll have a delightful Christmas, with or without the clicking of reindeer on your rooftop!