10 Fun Facts about Reindeer

What do we know about these cute semi-domestic animals which live in Finnish Lapland? Here are some fun to know facts about reindeer

Facts about reindeer

What animal comes to your mind when you think of Lapland?
Reindeer, am I right? But what do we know about these cute semi-domestic animals which live in Finnish Lapland. Here are some fun facts about reindeer!

Fun Facts about Reindeer

1. Reindeer Roam Freely in Finnish Lapland

In Finland, reindeer can roam freely almost anywhere in Lapland. Reindeer’s living area of 122 936 square kilometers covers 36 % of Finland’s land area.

2. More Reindeer Than People in Lapland

The population of Lapland is about 180 000. The number of reindeer is about 200 000. So in Lapland there are more reindeer than people!

3. Reindeer are Born in Summer

Reindeer are born in May or early June. Summer is the warmest time of the year and there is also plenty of food available, so the newborn have a bit easier start for life.

Newborn reindeer weights around 5 kilograms, but gains weight quickly thanks to mother’s nutrious milk.

4. Reindeer Can be Dark or All White

Color of the reindeer varies from dark to all white. Reindeer are fairly small. Height at the withers is 90-120 cm. Male reindeer weighs 90-180 kg. Female reindeer is a bit smaller and weighs 60-100 kg.

Reindeer live usually about 10-15 years, but can live as old as 20 years.

5. Reindeer Grow New Antlers Every Year

Reindeers drop their antlers and grow new ones every year. Reindeer antlers are the fastest growing bones in the world. They can grow 2 cm per day.

The antlers of a male reindeer can weigh up to 10 kg. Female reindeer also grow antlers, but smaller ones than male. Reindeer are the only female deer in the world that grow antlers.

6. Reindeer are Used to Harsh Winter Conditions

Reindeer are made for living in harsh winter conditions. Their hooves spread wide which helps moving also in a deep snow. Their thick fur keeps warm during cold winter. The outer hairs of the fur are hollow, which improves insulation and gives buoyancy when crossing a river.

Reindeer’s eyes are very sensitive to ultraviolet light, which enhances vision in the dark. Their excellent sense of smell helps to find food in winter. Reindeer can smell foor even under a meter-thick layer of snow.

7. Are Those Little Drops of Chocolate?

Have someone dropped some chocolate balls in the forest? Unfortunately not.
If you see a pile of small brown ball in nature, they could be reindeer droppings. They look like chocolate ball, but don’t taste them. You will be hugely disappointed!

8. Who is the Fastest?

If people can compete in something, they usually do. So why not race with reindeer. The first reindeer races in Finland were held in 1932.

The fastest reindeer compete against each other in competitions every winter. In the fastest class, the reindeer must be able to run 1 kilometer in less than 1 minute and 19 seconds. So the average speed must be more than 45 km/h (28 mph).

Naturally Santa’s reindeer are not allowed to race. that wouldn’t be fair as Santa’s reindeer are so fast.

9. Reindeer are Very Social

Reindeer are very social animals. They live together, eat together and rest together. A group of reindeer is called a herd (tokka in Finnish).

If a reindeer lifts its white tail while running, it’s warning others about a danger.

10. Reindeer Make a Clicking Sound

Did you know that reindeer make a clicking sound when they walk. This is caused by an ankle tendon. The clicking sound helps the reindeer to follow each other also in the dark.

Reindeer in the meadow
Reindeer in the meadow. Image by Anna-Leena Jänkälä / Lapin Materiaalipankki

More info:
Visit Lapland
Santa Claus Reindeer Resort
Featured image by Juha Kauppinen / Lapin Materiaalipankki