Reindeer

Image result for reindeer or caribou

PHOTO CREDIT: San Diego Zoo

Given the season, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about reindeer. Or is it caribou? The answer is, it’s both! Reindeer and caribou are, in fact, the same animal. What we call them depends on location. In Europe they are called reindeer. In North America, it gets more complicated. Wild herds are called caribou, while the domesticated animals are called reindeer.

Which brings me to my next point. Since Santa’s herd is clearly domesticated, they are called reindeer. But for the record, Rudolf was a girl. And, actually, Santa’s entire team was female! These animals are part of the deer family. Like other members of the deer family, they grow antlers. In the case of reindeer/caribou, though, BOTH males and females grow them. And here’s how we know that Rudolf was female – male reindeer/caribou shed their antlers every November. Females, on the other hand, don’t shed theirs until calves are born – in May. Like so many things in our past, it seems as though history needs to be rewritten. In the meantime, should you come across a reindeer/caribou with antlers in the coming weeks, say hello to HER.