How would Santa manage to deliver his presents without the help of his reindeers? Perhaps that's what makes the reindeer so popular with children - or perhaps it is Rudolph with his red-nose which appeals! Whatever the reason, and whether you are looking at reindeer from a Christmas or not-Christmas point of view, we've gathered together all of our original reindeer activities here. If you scroll down you will find reindeer crafts, reindeer colouring pages, reindeer printables, reindeer jokes and even reindeer recipes!
Reindeer are found in large herds in the very north of the earth. Reindeer live in both the Arctic Tundra and the North Pole regions, including parts of North America (where they are known as caribou), Europe and Asia. Domesticated reindeers are mostly found in northern Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland, and were introduced to these areas in the 18th century.
Ever wondered how reindeer keep warm in such low temperatures? Reindeer actually have a double layered coat - a thick, woolly undercoat and a longer-haired overcoat with hollow, air-filled hairs.
In the summer, when the ground is wet, their foot pads are softer giving them a larger surface on the ground. Their foot pads then tighten in winter to reveal the rim of their hooves, to enable better traction in the slippery snow and ice and to help them dig for food.
Reindeer are herbivores meaning they only eat plants, and love feeding on leafy greens and mushrooms. Carrots and apples aren't available in their natural habitat, but they do enjoy both as a treat (so remember to leave a carrot out on Christmas Eve!).
Some reindeer travel further than any other migrating mammal, and North American reindeer sometimes travel over 3,100 miles per year, covering around 23 miles per day. The largest migrations happen in spring and autumn.
Unlike many species of deer, both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Male reindeer usually lose their antlers in winter or spring, but females shed theirs in the summer.
Some Interesting Facts
- Reindeer comes from the Old Norse word “hreinin,” which means “horned animal.”
- The association between reindeer and Christmas began in 1823 with the publication of the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”. Two of the famous reindeer, Dunder and Blixem, were later changed from Dutch to German, becoming Donner and Blitzen, which means “thunder” and “lightning.”
- Reindeer are the only mammals that can see ultraviolet light, to help them spot things more clearly in the Arctic.
- Rudolph was first introduced in 1939 when Robert L. May wrote the children’s book “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". The name Rudolph means "famous wolf" in German.
- Reindeer are excellent swimmers and can swim as fast as six miles per hour.