News flash-Dasher was a GIRL, fascinating reindeer facts
On Dasher, on Dancer,on Prancer & Vixen! Those familiar words conjure up thoughts of Santa’s strong, beautiful reindeer taking off with a sleigh full of toys trailing behind. But how much do you really know about reindeer?
Right off the bat let me clear one thing up. All of Santa’s reindeer were most definitely girls! You see, male caribou(reindeer) drop their antlers in November after the rut, while the females, who also grow antlers, keep their antlers until spring when they are ready to give birth. No real surprise, who other than a group of determined females could lug an overweight man, and a sleigh full of toys around the world and complete it in one night?
In all seriousness though, caribou are remarkable creatures! They are found in the northern regions of North America, Europe, Asia, and Greenland and each year they embark on one of the largest migrations of all the big mammals on this earth. They travel over 600 miles on a difficult journey that takes them to the tundra to feed on the plentiful, rich grasses for the summer months. An adult reindeer can eat 12 pounds of food per day.
The females start their migration several weeks before the males, the males will follow with the calves from the previous birthing season. When the first snow comes they will turn their migration south. They will travel almost 1600 miles every year.
Many people do not realize that caribou are excellent swimmers, and must swim many miles during their migration. Their feet are splayed, so they act as paddles and also help to support them on the snowy grounds where they live. Their coats also assist them in swimming, they have two coats and the top layer has hollow hair that helps their buoyancy and also helps insulate because they are filled with air. The under coat is a wooly coat that provides warmth. The caribou use their antlers in the winter to dig for food, which during the snowiest months consist manly of lichen. Caribou have been clocked running 50 miles per hour, that’s pretty fast for a short stocky mammal that carries a headdress that can weigh up to 35 pounds! Wild caribou are considered endangered due to habitat loss and global warming.
Now that you have learned how fascinating Santa’s helpers are , you can show off your knowledge and impress your family and friends at your Holiday celebrations! Your sure to be the hit of the party, just don’t forget to put your blinking red nose on before telling you’re reindeer tales!