Santa (Dew) Claws
You probably remember the names of the nine famous reindeer doing warm-ups this season: Prancer, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dasher, and, of course, Rudolph. But most likely you don't know the following interesting facts about caribou. (Which are really the same thing. You must caribou about that.)
Did you know that Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Julius Caesar all saw reindeer? Caesar's description of it was:
"There is an ox shaped like a stag. In the middle of its forehead a single horn grows from between its ears, taller and straighter than the animal horns with which we are familiar. At the top this horn spreads out like the palm of a hand or the branches of a tree. The females are of the same shape as the males, and their horns are the same shape and size."
-Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Chapter 6.26)
Female reindeer stay in herds. Males are solitary, but join the girls during the breeding season. Like elk, the males win a group of females by rutting. Male reindeer horns fall off in the winter, but female horns don't.
Reindeer often make a clicking sound that leads people to think they have hurt ankles. However, this species of deer has dew claws (these look like high heels) on the hooves. This sound is normal. Perhaps reindeer think they're cool tap dancers for doing it.
Reindeer have predators: wolves, wolverines, bears, and coyotes. Reindeer prey on lichens, sedges, and other grasses, digging them out with their hooves in winter. In captivity, they are fed grains.
And, just to be on the safe side, I'll say most. But most reindeer do not have red noses!
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