Rudolph Is Female, and Other Crazy Reindeer Facts

Reindeer travel 3K miles a year—not including flights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2009 12:50 PM CST
Rudolph Is Female, and Other Crazy Reindeer Facts
Reindeer hoof it through runners on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska during the annual "Running of the Reindeer."    (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

Climate change is blamed for a drop of nearly 60% in reindeer numbers in recent decades and scientists warn that Arctic ecosystems are likely to suffer as a result. LiveScience lists other surprising—and less depressing—facts about St. Nick's beasts of burden.

  • They're actually caribou. Caribou and reindeer are the same species. The term "reindeer" generally refers to domesticated caribou in Scandinavia and Siberia that are herded and used to pull sleds.

  • Though they're slow walkers, they can run at speeds of up to 48 mph.
  • They're champion travelers. Caribou trek up to 3,000 miles a year, more than any other land mammal.
  • They're built for cold. Hollow hairs that trap air keep the herds warm while grazing on the tundra.
  • Rudolph, Blitzen, and the rest of the gang are female. Male reindeer lose their antlers by December, meaning the team pulling Santa's sleigh is all-female, if the sightings are to be believed.
(Read more reindeer stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.