1. Blue Christmas. A reindeer’s eye color changes with the seasons. The eyes change from gold in the summer to blue during the winter. This change aides them in capturing more light during the dark winter months. Researchers in the UK also recently discovered that reindeer can see ultraviolet light and that this is crucial to their survival in the harsh Arctic environment (seeing white fur, urine, etc. of potential predators).
2. Grandma Got Ran Over by a Caribou. Reindeer are actually caribou. “Reindeer” and “caribou” are the common names for the same species, rangifer tarandus. Reindeer is the name generally referring to those that are domesticated by humans for pulling sleds, milking, etc. The name “caribou” comes to us via the French, from the Mi’kmag “qalipu,” meaning “snow shoveler.” The name “reindeer” comes to us from the old Norse word “hreinn”, meaning deer.
3. Dashing Through the Snow. Reindeer have been recorded traveling up to 3,000 miles in a year. This is the longest documented movements of any terrestrial mammal, according to the IUCN.
4. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. These festive deer generally live above the Arctic circle in places like Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. Their fur is composed of hollow hairs that trap air. This helps keep them well-insulated from the Arctic elements. In addition to their hollow hairs, their circulatory systems keep the cooler blood in their limbs from pulling heat from the warm blood in their body’s core. These fascinating creatures were built for the cold.
5. Let’s Go Ice Swimming! Speaking of hair, reindeer coats are very buoyant which helps them to be great swimmers. Reindeer can swim up to 6 miles an hour. They swim well through rough, wide rivers and even icy expanses of ocean.
oil pastel on Canson paper
9 x 12 inches