Things You NEVER Knew About Santa’s Reindeer

December 22, 2017

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Santa’s Reindeer Are Girls?

While both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, the male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter — usually late November to mid-December. Females on the other hand keep theirs until spring after they give birth. So, according to every rendition, every one of Santa’s reindeer, from Rudolph to Blitzen . . . must be girls.

Reindeer are the only species of the “Cervidae” family in which Females grow Antlers.

Females have an edge over males in another important way. In preparation for winter, female reindeer build up to nearly 50 percent body fat. The additional weight gives them a couple extra inches of thick fat on their hindquarters, insulating them to extremely cold temperature and also providing them with energy stores that would be necessary for the long flight. Meanwhile, their male counterparts typically have only 5 percent body fat, the majority of their stored fat having been exhausted as a result of the mating season.

This is all to say that if in fact reindeer did fly from the North Pole all around the world at Christmas, most likely only the gals would even be prepared for the journey.

However, its possible that this information may not apply to Santa’s reindeer, as Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game points out that Santa’s reindeer are a unique subspecies (saintnicolas magicalus) that  exhibit characteristics atypical of other subspecies of reindeer. For example, they fly, and no other species of this family are known to do so.

Two Of Santa’s Reindeer Originally Had Different Names

Before Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (aka “The Night Before Christmas”), no one thought about reindeer for Santa. Did you know two of their names changed? Dunder and Blixem became known as Donner and Blitzen. Their original names meant Thunder and Lightning.

According to Wikipedia and Snopes Moore’s poem originally read:

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on Dunder and Blixem!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

The Christmas flying reindeer we all know as Donner and Blitzen were originally given Dutch names which translate as Thunder and Lightning — “Dunder” (as in Dunder Mifflin) and “Blixem”.

If you are lucky enough to spot Santa and his reindeer somewhere in Alexandria, Fairfax, Prince William County Virginia or anywhere else, this year please take a photo and share it with me on my social media sites. I’ll make sure to share it on all my social media and websites, giving you full credit.