Sex Lives of Reindeer

I’m sure you were all sitting around wondering about reindeer sex today. Or maybe just I was. I realized that I knew nothing about real reindeer, not even that they are more correctly called caribou or that their eye color changes in the winter. The scientific name for reindeer is  Rangifer tarnadus. They are found in the arctic tundra but once lived as far south as Germany and Maine. What happened? They were hunted into oblivion in these populated regions.

Caribou herds can contain “tens of thousands” of reindeer so they are never alone.They make a clicking sound when they walk when tendons rub against bones. Both male and female have antlers. As with other ruminant animals, reindeer have a rut where the males battle it out for the privilege of mating with a group of females. The rut occurs as daylight wanes, usually in October and calves come in May-July. During the rut, the males lose weight from all the fighting etc.and after the rut, their antlers fall off. It would seem that realistically, December would not be a great time for an exhausted male reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh. So next time you think about Dancer and Cupid, keep in mind, they are probably girls and probably pregnant.

 

 

 

 

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