Several years ago while backpacking in Europe I visited my friend Josefin in Sweden. She grew up in northern Sweden, above the Arctic Circle. And a special kind of deer are farmed in this area – reindeer. This past weekend I found these special animals at a Christmas market near Calgary, Alberta. They were a hit with young and old alike. Some of them even had names like Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen – sound familiar? But everyone’s favourite reindeer was nowhere to be found. Apparently he’s preparing for the busy Christmas season!
Here are some fun reindeer facts:
- Reindeer are native to northern climates – found in northern regions of North America, Europe, Asia and Greenland.
- Male and female reindeer grow antlers.
- Antlers grow over the summer months – while they are growing antlers are covered in skin called velvet.
- The diet of reindeer consists of grass, moss and lichen.
- Reindeer prefer eating snow over drinking open water.
- Reindeer don’t sweat, they lose heat through panting – like a dog.
- Reindeer eyes are large in order to let in lots of light so they can see in the dark Arctic winter.