The reindeer is a spectacular animal. Here are a few fun-facts from the San Diego Zoo about this caribou:
- Reindeer have the largest and heaviest antlers of all living deer species.
- Females can weigh up to 300 pounds. Males can get over 500 pounds.
- When reindeer walk, their hooves make a loud clicking noise due to a tendon slipping over the bone. (So, when you hear clicking on the rooftop, don’t be alarmed it’s just Santa’s reindeer).
- This species of deer are made for the cold temperatures. They are covered in thick hair from the tips of their noses to bottoms of their feet.
- They can come in all sorts of colors. They range from dark brown in woodland areas, to nearly white in arctic regions.
- Having hairy feet may look funny, but it serves a good purpose. It gives them an excellent grip on the snow, ice and mud.
- In the coldest of winter months, their hooves actually harden, so that they can dig into frozen ground more easily.
- The reindeer has a very special feature. It is its nose! Their specialized nose helps to warm incoming air before it enters the lungs, and it also works as a super sniffer.
- They are ruminants. That means that they eat mostly mosses, greens, herbs, grasses and ferns.
- Adult reindeer can swim up to 6 MPH and run up to 50 MPH!
- They can live for up to 18 years.
Visit your local AZA-accredited zoo/aquarium this holiday season; they may have reindeer that you can see up close! Click here to find your nearest AZA facility.