Reindeer get their spotlight together with Santa Claus once a year, but in reality reindeer have played a vital part of the culture and lifestyle in the north for millenia. These arctic animals steal the hearts of many who visit Lapland but there is much more to admire in reindeer than their cute, furry appearance. Here’s some amazing facts about reindeer you might not know yet.
1. Both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Reindeer are the only deer species in which the females also grow antlers. Unlike horns, antlers are shed each year. In males, this happens in late autumn, but females hold on to their antlers until spring.
2. Antlers look different depending on the season. In the summertime the antlers are covered with velvety skin and animals have blood circulating in the antlers. Reindeer antlers may grow even two centimetres in a day, making them the fastest growing tissue in the world. When autumn comes, the antlers are fully-grown and the bone begins to die, the velvet skin dries up and falls off. When the antlers are hardened, it’s time for the breeding season and male reindeer start their rival for the females.
3. Reindeer have one of the most isolating and warmest fur in the world, second to only polar bear’s. Reindeer hair is hollow, which makes it very isolating. If you have a chance to observe reindeer during snowfall, you might notice that the snow won’t melt on their back. The hollow hair also helps reindeer in the water, and they are in fact great swimmers.
4. Swimming reindeer have also been an inspiration to one of the oldest works of art in the British Museum. ”Swimming reindeer” was carved from the tip of a mammoth tusk and made during an extraordinary period of artistic creativity during the last Ice Age.
5. The Sami people of Finland have used “Poronkusema” as a way of measuring distance. Literally it marks the distance that a reindeer can run before it needs to urinate. It can be as much as 7,5 kilometers.
6. Reindeer usually give birth to one calf in the springtime. Babies weight about 4–6 kg when they are born and they are able to stand after their first hour of their life. Within a week they start eating solid food in addition to their mother's milk. In northern Sámi language, the month of May is called Miessemánu, meaning ”reindeer calf month”.
Then you should definitely apply for a summer job as a reindeerherder! We are hiring two reindeer herders for two summer months. If you love artic animals, outdoor life, unspoiled nature and bonfires under the midnight sun, this is your dream job. Your job is to test all summer activities Kuusamo has to offer: rafting, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, berry picking, to name a few. And of course get to know the reindeer and help on Kujala Reindeer Farm and/or Palosaari Reindeer and Fishing Farm.
Read more and apply: www.ruka.fi/reindeerherder
Explore more: www.ruka.fi/reindeer
Text & photos: Veera Vihervaara
This content is powered by Gateway to Kuusamo Lapland Project: