Santas Leaping Reindeers

Rudolph with your nose so bright,
guide the sleigh on Christmas night.
Bright and merry with all your cheer,
lets know that Christmas is here…
-Source Unknown

Santa and his Reindeers are famous for centuries. There are many interesting stories about how Santa brings the gifts and comes on his famous sledge carried by his reindeers.Have you ever thought why its the reindeer? Why not sled dogs? Why not polar bears or any other animal for that matter?

Because, as per the belief Santa is from the far away North, so reindeer-drawn sled serves as the best carriage.
Reindeer is supposed to be one of the man’s most ancient herd animal, and it is the first animal being raised around 15,000 years ago. Nearly from12,000 years ago, reindeers are found over a vast area of Europe. Rock paintings made by primitive people featuring the reindeers are world famous, along with the discoveries of tools which were made from reindeer horn.

We know reindeers as a part of our holiday music and images. We know that they carry Santa’s sledge and have red noses. They have names and they can fly, but as one of the Ancient animals do we really know what reindeers are? Here are some interesting facts about them you would like to know:

  1. They are also called as “caribou”. The name “reindeer” is believed to be of Norse origin (From old Norse word “hreinn” which stands for deer) and “caribou” comes from French, the Mi’kmag “qalipu,” which means “snow shoveler.” The scientific name for reindeer is Rangifer Tarasndus.
  2. Both male and female reindeers have antlers and they shed them in winters.They are rubbery in nature and are made of blood and marrow.
  3. Like a human fingerprint, no two reindeer’s antlers are exactly the same
  4. They can live up to 15 years in the wild and feed generally on Lichen- a type of moss, grass, and plants.
  5. Reindeer are generally 4-5 ft tall excluding their antlers.Their antlers are 3ft tall! Yes! And it makes them one of the most graceful creatures.
  6. Reindeer’s favorite migration place is towards South. During the summer they migrate towards North.The trip is about 1,200 miles round trip and is considered as one of the world’s largest migrations.
  7. Northernmost species are much lighter in color as compared to the species at the southern end.
  8. Their noses are specially designed to warm the air which they breath before it gets to their lungs.
  9. A reindeer posses different shades of brown colored soft fur on their neck and white fur on some parts of their back. The fur can also be grey or rusty in color and it can weigh anywhere ranging from 240-700 lbs.
  10. Here are the names for all Reindeers which Santa has in his crew: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen. Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and how can we forget Rudolph.

Reindeer were viewed as mysterious creatures in early centuries which belonged to lands of the northern part of the world. They were first domesticated in European countries during the 18th century. They were used in transportation and pulling sleds and sleighs was their primary task. They are still an important aspect of some indigenous northern European cultures, especially to the Sámi people (which are commonly known as Laplanders to non-Europeans).