Reindeer

On the hillside behind the polar bear exhibit, you’ll find a small herd of reindeer. They are most visible in the morning when they’re eating their breakfast.

Our herd is descended from Siberian reindeer in Alaska, where they enjoy a warm summer season. To keep them comfy, we’ve placed misters in the pine trees and provided a shallow wading pool.

In most deer species, only the males grow antlers. But reindeer are the exception: both males and females grow these bony structures, but at different times of the year! Males begin to grow antlers in February; these “tools” are then ready to be used for jousting and impressing the females during the fall breeding season. The males shed their antlers by November. The females begin to grow theirs in May and keep these weapons through the winter birthing season to protect their young.

So, who really pulls Santa’s famous sleigh?

Conservation Status

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