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Reindeer or Caribou

By Christy Lowman

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What do you think of when you hear the word reindeer? Christmas, hot chocolate, Santa, snow, perhaps?

Reindeer live in both North America and Europe however in North America they are called caribou. Domesticated caribou are called reindeer too.

Reindeer are really cool animals. They spend forty percent of their time in snowy, cold areas. God equipped them with unique traits to help them survive these conditions. For example, they have thick fur, and each individual hair is hollow which traps in heat to help keep them warm. They are the only deer species that have fur that covers their nose all the way to the bottoms of their feet. Their hairy hooves help them be able to travel in the snow and ice. Their divided hooves shrink and become hard in the winter for better travel. In the summer, the hooves turn soft and get larger to help navigate the softer ground.

The blood in the veins in their nose warms the air the reindeer breathes before it gets into its lungs. They have a super sense of smell that helps them sniff out lichen and other food under the snow. Their nose identifies predators and guides them on their migratory path. The reindeer’s keen sense of smell helps them the most to survive.

Reindeer are herd animals. Sometimes a herd can have up to 500,000 reindeer!

Reindeer choose to travel into the blowing wind to help them be able to pick up on surrounding scents. While their sense of sight and hearing are not the best, they can see ultraviolet light. This light also helps them identify predators and food.

Some types of reindeer make a clicking sound when they walk. This helps them be able to hear each other so they can stay together in blizzard-like conditions.

Reindeer can also swim and run up to 48 mph. Some travel up to three thousand miles each year.

These deer have the largest and heaviest antlers of all deer. Males and females both grow antlers unlike the deer around here. Males’ antlers grow up to 51 inches long while females grow up to 20 inches long. The males start growing their antlers in February and drop them in November. Females start growing their antlers in May and shed theirs the following May when they give birth.

Many people use reindeer for travel, to race, to help haul heavy things, and for meat, and milk. The reindeer’s milk is considered “super milk” because it is 22 percent butterfat and 10 percent protein. The reindeer’s milk is very rich compared to cow’s milk which is only 4 percent fat.

Unfortunately, you only get 2 cups of milk from a reindeer a day instead of a gallon or so from a cow. Some people make sweet cheese from reindeer milk.

Reindeer are unique, interesting animals. I had the pleasure of meeting some at a petting zoo once. Maybe one of these days I will get a chance to taste some of their sweet cheese!

December is a very busy month for many. Often our minds get occupied with presents, Santa, more presents, reindeer, and many other things. I encourage you to focus your mind on the real reason we celebrate Christmas, which is Jesus’ birth. If Jesus had not been born we would not have had a savior to save us from going to hell. We would all be lost and life would be meaningless. The miracle of Jesus’s birth and His story is the most important thing of all!

Also if you are able, please help other children and families that are in need this Christmas. They might not be getting a present or might need a warm meal. This has been a very hard year for many. Help them see the love of Jesus through you!

Dear Lord, help us keep our hearts and mind on You this holiday season. Please show us who we can help this Christmas. We pray they will see Your love through us! Amen.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NLT

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Christy Lowman is a Christian author and illustrator that lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing and illustrating books for all ages. Some of her short stories are published with Guideposts and HCI. Christy gives all the glory to God in everything she does. A portion of every book sold from the Small Bible Character Series will be donated to battle human trafficking. If you enjoy her books, “like’ her author page on Facebook and let her know! You can buy her books at // You can reach her at //


You can read more Christian news from Christy here.