Here Are 9 Bizarre Facts About Reindeer That Even Santa Doesn’t Know

25 Days Of Creepy Christmas, Day 4: Weird Facts About Adorable Reindeer


If there is one thing more iconic around the holidays than Santa Claus, it’s his team of flying reindeer. Without them, there’s no way that Santa could deliver all those presents to the good little girls and boys of the world on Christmas Eve.

While you probably know the story of Santa’s flying reindeer, you probably didn’t know that scientifically speaking, they’re all probably female. But that’s not all…

1.) They get around.

Reindeer - 08 Jun 2012 - St. Paul Island, AK

Wild reindeer are some of the most prolific travelers in the world. On average, a herd of reindeer will travel up to 3,000 miles every year in search of food during the long, cold winter.

Traveling so much actually make sense when you know how fast reindeer can go. According to researchers, an individual reindeer when it’s being chased, can gallop up to 48 MPH. 

2.) In Finland they spray paint their antlers.


In parts of Finland, traffic accidents because of reindeer are a big problem. As a way of cutting down on those kinds of traffic accidents, the Finnish government spray paints the antlers of reindeer with reflective paint. The result is safer, but certainly spooky looking.

3.) Those antlers.


Reindeer are one of the only species on the planet where both sexes grow antlers. Typically, the sexes lose their respective antlers at different times during the year. But when they have them, they can be pretty terrifying. Among bigger male reindeer, their antlers can grow up to 39 inches wide, and 59 inches in length. Ouch.

The reindeer pictured in the above photo is actually healthy, too. This what it looks like when their new antlers grow in every year. The red material in this picture is called velvet, and helps supply blood and nutrients to the antlers while they growing, then it falls off. It looks gross, but it’s perfectly natural.

4.) They like to get high.


According to one scientist, reindeer will occasionally seek out psychedelic mushrooms as a way to alleviate boredom during the long winter months. This, they believe, may have led to the development of the myth of flying reindeer.

If that’s not weird enough, the same researcher also says that some herders used to drink their reindeer’s urine as a way of trying to get high themselves. 

5.) They have their own unit of measurement.


Reindeer in Northern Finland have their own unit of measurement called a “poronkusema.” It was invented by the Sami people of the region, and is the distance that a reindeer can travel before needing to urinate.

6.) They can see ultraviolet light.


Reindeer have notoriously good eyesight. They can see light wavelengths up to 320nm, human can only see up to 400nm. This extra little boost in the ultraviolet range allows reindeer to see things more clearly in the harsh, blinding white of the snowy tundra.

7.) They make pretty good police.


Some police officers in parts of Finland have reindeer partners, much like police dogs here in the United States. I think I smell a buddy cop movie.

8.) Reindeer are tasty.


Throughout human history, tribal humans in the northern parts of the world depended on hunting reindeer for their survival, particularly in what is today Canada, and Scandinavia. That tradition of hunting and eating reindeer still exists in many parts of the world today.

In fact delicious reindeer meat is a pretty common sign in supermarkets all over Scandinavia.  

9.) Santa’s reindeer are probably female.


Because of the time of year that most reindeer shed their antlers, it’s very possible that Santa’s reindeer are actually female. Older male reindeer tend to lose their antlers around December, which would make it a pretty safe bet that the team pulling Santa’s sleigh is using pure girl power.