41 Remarkable Reindeer Facts for Kids

Reindeer are fascinating creatures! Get all the kid-friendly facts about these animals, from what they eat and where they live to trivia that's just plain fun.

Updated December 9, 2023
reindeer in northern Norway

Reindeer aren't just hustling carrots from Kristoff or pulling a sleigh on Christmas. These amazing creatures live in the wild and have some extremely interesting attributes! These fun and interesting reindeer facts for kids will give you a whole new outlook on Santa's crew.

We explain why Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isn't just a movie and what's so special about a reindeer's antlers and eyes!

Quick Reindeer Facts for Kids

Ready to warm up your winter animal knowledge with a bit of reindeer trivia? These are some quick facts about where reindeer live, what they eat, and how many reindeer species there are.

  • Reindeer and caribou are the same animals!
    • Typically, in North America they are referred to as caribou and in Eurasia, they are called reindeer.
  • They are part of the deer family.
  • The scientific name for reindeer is Rangifer tarandus.
  • There are eight subspecies of reindeer.
  • Reindeer come in various colors, from gray to brown.
  • Reindeer can live between 15 and 20 years.
  • You can find reindeer in the Arctic Tundra. This includes locations like Canada, Alaska, Russia, and Scandinavia.
  • Males weigh up to about 550 pounds, and females weigh up to about 300 pounds. Now that's a giant deer!
  • A reindeer's hooves are split to get traction in snow and dig for food.
  • They eat plants, typically moss, grass, and lichen.
  • Reindeer babies are not born with spots.
  • It takes two years for a baby reindeer to become an adult.

Fantastically Fun Facts About Reindeer

Caribou in the wild

Now that you know the basics, check out these odd and awesome facts about the leaders of Santa's sleigh. From food consumption to migration, these remarkable reindeer facts are a bit un-brr-lievable!

  • They eat about 18 pounds of veggies a day. Could you imagine?
  • The fur of a reindeer has an insulating coat like a dog.
    • This thick coat of hair covers their hooves, which further helps them find traction on slippery terrain.
  • Reindeer are the only widely domesticated species of deer.
  • Reindeer never stop moving. They are constantly looking for new food sources and better shelter.
  • Reindeer walk more than 3,000 miles throughout the year to find warmer areas and food.
    • This is longer than any other terrestrial animal on the planet!
  • Reindeer have four-chambered stomachs!
  • Reindeers have fantastically nutritious milk.
  • In North America, reindeer names differ from other species of deer.
    • Males are called bulls, females are cows, and babies are calves.

Cool Facts About Reindeer Antlers

reindeer antlers

One of the fantastic things about reindeer is their fascinating antlers. They are one of the first things you will notice when you see them. Here is what you might not know about these distinguishing features.

  • All reindeer grow antlers, both males and females.
    • In most other species of deer, only the males grow antlers.
  • Reindeer have the largest and heaviest antlers of all deer species, measuring a whopping 4.25 feet tall.
  • Reindeer shed their antlers every year.
  • The males drop them in the fall and the females in the spring. 
    • In other words, Santa's reindeer are all female!
  • Every reindeer's antlers are unique to that deer — kind of like human fingerprints.
  • It takes a few months for reindeer to grow new antlers.

Truly Surprising Facts About Reindeer for Kids

herd of reindeer

Reindeer have some extremely unique features beyond their lush fur and big size. From their nose to their incredible eyes, learn about a few reindeer facts that make these animals truly special. 

Their Noses Glow (on Camera) 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's nose isn't just the highlight of a fictional story. There's a little truth to the glow behind the nose. Reindeer noses have extra blood vessels and they are covered in fur to warm the cold arctic air as it is inhaled into their nose. This results in their noses glowing red on a thermal camera!

They Have Eyes That Change Color 

Reindeer eyes change color depending on the season. They are gold in the summer and blue in the winter. This is so the reindeer can see more light during the darker winter months.

They Have Big Herds

Reindeer like to have a lot of friends. In fact, they move in massive herds that can be comprised of up to ½ million reindeer. Could you imagine having that many family members hanging with you all the time?

They Are Fast Runners

While the fastest human can run almost 28 miles per hour, reindeer have him beat at 50 miles per hour. That's a fast deer. They are almost breaking the speed limit!

Fast Fact

It doesn't take long for reindeer to get their running legs. Only one day after birth, they can speed past a human!

They Have Clicky Feet

It's well-known that reindeer click when they walk, from the tendon moving past their bone. But this click serves the purpose of helping them find each other in the snow.

They Have a Strong Sense of Smell

A reindeer's eyes and ears are pretty keen, but it's their sense of smell that gets them around. This is a good thing if they are trapped in a snowstorm.

There Are Worker Reindeer

Remember how Sven hauled ice for Kristoff in the Disney film Frozen? Well, Sami people herd reindeer and use them for transportation. You'll find reindeer pulling a sleigh in areas of Norway and Finland.

Santa's Reindeer: A Tradition for Over 200 Years 

The first written account of Santa and his reindeer was in A New Year's Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve Number III: The Children's Friend in 1821. This little booklet started a tradition.

Fun & Interesting Reindeer Facts for Kids 

Animals have some fascinating features. This includes Santa's favorite pals, the reindeer. Now you know why their fur is so thick, their noses are so warm and bright, and how they keep the herd together in the day and night. Learn all about another animal associated with a major holiday by delighting in these turkey facts for kids, too.

41 Remarkable Reindeer Facts for Kids