Reindeer – they don’t just pull Santa’s sleigh: Nature in Focus
Reindeer are known by many names such as ‘Caribou’ (originating from the French word for ‘snow shoveler’), Hrenin (originating from the Norse ‘Horned Animal’) and in many Eastern European languages ‘Po’aw’ (originating from the Iranian word for ‘cattle’). Contrary to what we see in films, their first description associated with Santa Claus they are described as tiny and, therefore, are most likely from the Svalbard subspecies. It is likely that they are chosen due to their nimble nature which would make them able to effectively navigate the rooftops and gardens of the world during present delivery on the 24th of December.
As well as their sleigh pulling duties the species play an important part in tundra ecosystems to the North of Northern hemisphere continents. However, it is not only other animals that rely on the activity of reindeer to sustain themselves. Around 16,000 years ago reindeer were incredibly abundant across Europe. Primitive humans used them as a source of food, clothing and even used their bones to create tools. This is still the case for the Sami of Northern Finland who have over 400 words for the food, tools and products taken from the reindeer.
They are unique from other types of deer as both the male and female of the species grow antlers, furthermore they also grow and shed antlers annually. They are also the only animals able to see ultraviolet light. To see Reindeer for yourself consider visiting Finland, or even Lapland itself on Finland Husky Safari and the Aurora Borealis or a Nordic Wilderness Adventure.