Always a favourite at Christmas, Blackpool Zoo’s reindeer have a very successful breeding history, with most females producing a calf each year. Both sexes of reindeer have antlers, although those of the male are much bigger and more spectacular. They lose their antlers every year to make way for more growth.
In the wild, reindeer live between 10 and 20 years, with females outliving the males by up to 10 years. They live in large herds and migrate to breeding grounds where food is more plentiful. They are strong swimmers and readily cross rivers to reach their destination. They have an excellent sense of smell which enables them to find food under quite deep snow. Their main predators are brown bears, polar bears and wolverines. They are also hunted by humans for their meat and fur.
Reindeer hooves are adaptable to the seasons. In summer, they become softer and almost spongy to deal with wet ground, but harden to cope with icy conditions in winter. They use the rim of each hoof to dig into the ice to get a good grip.