I had the pleasure of discovering that I’ve been over-indulging in holiday treats in the last week and my jeans are no longer fitting. And I thought to myself, “Ok, time to pull in the reins on your eating”. That led me to think about a holiday classic, Reindeer. For people who don’t live in areas where circumpolar species live, reindeer are magical animals that fly and assist in holiday delivery service. However for those people who live in Greenland, Norway, Russia, Alaska, Canada and the North Pole, reindeer are hoof stock weighing anywhere from 220-260 pounds. When reindeer grow out their winter coat, the hair that grows is actually hollow, much like that of a polar bear. This helps keep reindeer warm in the frigid temperatures that they live in. The largest and most famous reindeer herd has numbers of about 125,000 animals who migrate up to 3,000 miles per year.
Even though reindeer can’t actually fly (sorry to burst any bubbles), they are great swimmers! They are fairly strong swimmers, so they water won’t even stop their migration! Reindeer eat Lichen which is a mixture of moss and algae. So Rudolph would rather eat green slime off of a tree than the carrots, celery, cookies, and whatever else is left for them in homes across the world. Also, the “click, click, click” you hear on the housetop on Christmas Eve isn’t the hooves of these creatures; it is the sound their tendons make as they stretch across their foot bone. All of a sudden that “click, click, click”, is not so cute or magical, again my apologies.
The above facts and figures can be credited to Dr. Don Moore who is a Senior Scientist at the National Zoo. His very entertaining article can be found at: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/SCBI/AnimalCare/News/25daysreindeer.cfm
Even though the National Zoo gets government funding they can still always get donations to help them educate people on conservation and keep admission free. You can help the National Zoo at:
Merry Christmas Eve to those of you who have a special place in your hearts for this day, and don’t forget to leave some green slime for Santa’s reindeer tonight!