Jeanna Bryner at Live Science today points out some interesting facts about reindeer.
Mixing fact with fiction, she argues that all of the reindeer mentioned in stories about Santa Claus had to have been female. Here's why:
- Females keep their antlers throughout the winter, but males shed theirs in early December. Illustrations of Santa's sleigh pullers uniformly show reindeer with antlers.
- The mating season depletes males of body fat, leaving them with just 5 percent on their scrawny frames around Christmas time. Females, on the other hand, retain 50 percent of their body fat. They'd be in shape to haul Santa.