Friday, 18 December 2015

R is for

Reindeer
Santa and his reindeer
By unknown, authors Ellis Town, Sophie May, and Ella Farman 
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I have to say I'm worried by both Santa and these reindeer. 
I fear for this child's safety


Reindeer have amazing evolutionary enhancements to make them the perfect creatures to pull Santa's sleigh. And I don't just mean the ability to fly around the world in one night.


Their noses are specially adapted to warm the air they breathe before it enters their lungs and to condense water in the air, which they then use to keep their mucous membranes moist.

Santa Claus and His Reindeer
By none listed, author Clement C. Moore (1779-1863), 
publishers Charles E. Graham & Co. 
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I have to say this image is closer to the one we hold deer. 
(See what I did there.)





Their fur traps air, which not only helps provide them with excellent insulation, but also keeps them buoyant in water, which is critical being as how they often travel across massive rivers and lakes while migrating. (Could this also be how they fly? Perhaps they float, like a hot air balloon!)



Even their hooves are special. In the summer, when the ground is wet, their foot pads are softened, providing them with extra traction. In the winter, the pads tighten, revealing the rim of their hooves, which is used to provide traction in the slippery snow and ice.


Svalbard reindeer
By Billy Lindblom (originally posted to Flickr as Svalbard reindeer)
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
This is better. The beauty of the creature that Santa is said to use.
Svalbard reindeer.








No wonder Santa chose reindeer to pull his sleigh.

It's a step up from a donkey.
(Just checking you were paying attention to previous posts.)

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