You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen... But do you know these tidbits about reindeer?
- Both male and female reindeer have antlers, the only species of deer to display this trait. Every reindeer grows a new set annually.
- Unless they are neutered, male reindeer shed their antlers at the beginning of winter and females shed theirs in spring. Therefore, all Santa's reindeer must either be female or neutered males.
- Rudolph of red-nosed fame was originally going to be named either Rollo or Reginald, until creator Robert May's four-year-old daughter Barbara expressed a preference for Rudolph.
- Reindeer have been around for a long time. Ice Age engravings in a cave in France depict what is thought to be reindeer, and the artwork has been dated from 12,000 to 10,500 B.C.
- Reindeer don't sink into the snow despite their size because their weight is distributed over a large area due to their wide, splayed hooves.
- Reindeer are herbivores, feeding on grasses, mosses, leaves, and lichens.
- A reindeer can pull twice its body weight for up to 40 miles.
December 1939, department store Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the world.