Yes! Reindeer are real and don’t just live at the North Pole. We are counting down 5 days of Christmas science projects with a little bit of Christmas biology, specifically reindeer facts. These iconic mammals of the holiday season are interesting creatures the kids will LOVE to explore. You can learn more about these furry animals as you countdown to Christmas.
REINDEER FACTS FOR CHRISTMAS BIOLOGY ACTIVITIES
CHRISTMAS SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
Welcome to the 1st of 5 Days of Christmas Science Projects and Christmas Science Facts with reindeer facts!
Have you ever seen a real reindeer? We have! Not in the wild of course…
But it’s still a magical experience just the same.
These next 5 days you can explore some “off the beaten path” types of holiday or Christmas STEM activities, and today its all about the reindeer. You can go ahead and save the more traditional Christmas science experiments for another day.
REINDEER FACTS FOR CHRISTMAS BIOLOGY
Check out the interesting facts about reindeer below. You can even show your kids the beauty of real reindeer with the Reindeer Cam links below.
- In December, you can watch live reindeer cams at ReindeerCam.com (Caledonia, MI) or Animal Planet (Como Park Zoo in Minneapolis).
- Reindeer’s favorite foods are grass, moss, herbs, and berries.
- Reindeer and caribou are the same species but different subspecies. They are closely related to deer, elk, and moose. While there are many subtle differences between reindeer and caribou, reindeer are domesticated, and caribou are wild.
- Domesticated raised reindeer are very friendly animals. You can hand feed them, train them to pull sleds, wagons, and the like!
- Reindeer live in very large packs of sometimes thousands in Arctic forests.
Interesting facts about reindeers for kids…
- A reindeer’s hooves change with the seasons! In the soft, summer ground the hooves also become softer and more spongy. In the freezing, icy winter, the hooves harden and become sharper so that the edges can cut into the ice. These grooves prevent the reindeer from slipping on the ice and snow.
- Reindeers have a very thick coat made of two layers of fur. The bottom layer is woolly and the top layer is made of long, hollow hairs.
- Packs of reindeer are often hunted by wolves, polar bears, brown bears, and even sharks! Reindeer are really fast and migrate in group of hundreds to thousands, so they are not easy to catch.
- In the late 9th century, Ohthere of Hålogaland sent a letter to King Alfred the Great, in which he stated that he owned 600 domesticated reindeer, of which six were decoys that he used for catching more reindeer to bring into his herd.
- Unlike regular deer, both male and female reindeer grow antlers. The antlers look velvety because they are composed of a very blood-supply-rich material. Scientists are studying deer antlers to better understand bone cancers. Male and female reindeer shed their antlers in different seasons. These high calciumated, lost antlers are then consumed by rodents and other forest creatures.
FUN REINDEER FACTS PRINTABLE FOR YOUNG KIDS
A simple and fun activity for our younger reindeer fans! Label the reindeer body parts is a quick way to learn simple anatomy of a reindeer. For older kids, download this Reindeer Facts Word Search using words from the text above!