*Reindeer and Caribou are the same species which originated on the North American Continent. During the last Ice Age, great herds of Reindeer migrated across the land bridge to Siberia and spread west from there into the Siberian Arctic and Northern Europe.
*Reindeer have huge hooves which spread out to help them travel more efficiently.In the center of each hoof is a small tuft of hair for added traction. Siberian Reindeer Herders refer to this tuft as 'God's Beard'.
*Female Reindeer wear the same crown of antlers as male Reindeer. But male Reindeer shed their antlers after the autumn mating season. Female Reindeer wear their antlers all winter long and only shed their 'rack' after giving birth to their calves in spring.
*Female Reindeer are larger than the males of their species, their bodies broad, muscular and compact. Their legs are short to keep down heat loss and improve balance on icy terrain.
*Though not 'officially' a matriarchal mammal, female Reindeer spend most of their time together in their own herds. Elder females lead the spring and fall migrations and designate separate grazing areas for males and females during the winter. Newborn Reindeer are able to stand and walk within ninety minutes of birth. Four to five hours later the calf can walk with the herd. Female calves stay with their mothers for two years or longer.
*Researchers at the University College London have recently discovered that of all the mammals on Earth, only Reindeer can see ultraviolet light. Being able to see light in this spectrum gives them the ability to identify objects on the Arctic tundra during the long dark winters.
*Lichen are flat plants similar to moss which grow under the snow and are a staple of the Reindeer diet. Reindeer also eat leaves, grass and in the fall, poisonous red mushrooms without any ill effects.
*Reindeer herds migrate farther than any other hoofed mammals on Earth. During the spring and fall migrations some Reindeer herds travel over three thousand miles.
*Reindeer grow and shed the ultimate in warm winter coats every year. Inside the furry layers are long hollow hairs which contribute to volume and hold in body heat. These same hairs add buoyancy when reindeer confidently swim across thawed rivers and lakes, their broad hooves acting like paddles.
*Reindeer are considered the last domesticated species on Earth.
After thousands of years, small groups of Reindeer Herders still live and migrate with their herd in northern Norway, Finland and in Siberian Russia.
*All Reindeer noses are not only big, but also a nice healthy red. Adapted to function in bitter cold temperatures, each Reindeer has an extra chamber in their nose which allows the air breathed in to warm before entering the lungs. Each nostril is also lined with thick hairs to filter out frozen moisture.
*It was a Reindeer Goddess who brought the Sun back to the Earth in her great branching antlers each Winter Solstice. This goddess was the source of much art, many stories and countless celebrations based of the 'reuturn of the light into darkness'. For many cultures in the Northern Hemisphere, She still is.