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When people think of reindeer, they think of Christmas. Reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh and are featured in Christmas cards and festive music worldwide (usually sporting red noses).

But how much do you really know about this northern-most deer species, roaming the Arctic fringe?


Download our full story PDF, for 25 Festive Reindeer Facts here.

Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) rear view lying down, resting at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April. - Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) rear view lying down, resting at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April.
Copy of rock carving of a reindeer from the Alta area of North Norway. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Copy of rock carving of a reindeer from the Alta area of North Norway.
Santa Claus / Father Christmas feeding Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Rovaniemi, Finland, 1996. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Santa Claus / Father Christmas feeding Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Rovaniemi, Finland, 1996.
Nenet herdsman with Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during summer migration, Yamal Peninsula, Russia. May. - Arne Hodalic
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Arne Hodalic / Nenet herdsman with Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during summer migration, Yamal Peninsula, Russia. May.
Reindeer / Caribou {Rangifer tarandus} Denali National Park, Alaska, USA. Mount McKinely in background - Steven Kazlowski
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Steven Kazlowski / Reindeer / Caribou {Rangifer tarandus} Denali National Park, Alaska, USA. Mount McKinely in background
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) in distance at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April. - Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) in distance at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April.
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) portrait, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, September. - Ole  Jorgen Liodden
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Ole Jorgen Liodden / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) portrait, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, September.
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) walking across snowy ground, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, March. - Roy Mangersnes
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Roy Mangersnes / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) walking across snowy ground, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, March.
Nordic Reindeer racing championship, Tromso, Norway. February 2014. - Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Nordic Reindeer racing championship, Tromso, Norway. February 2014.
Dehorned reindeer at Tromso Reindeer Racing Championships, Tromso, Norway, February. - Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Dehorned reindeer at Tromso Reindeer Racing Championships, Tromso, Norway, February.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) racing, Inari, North Finland, 1996. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) racing, Inari, North Finland, 1996.
Khanty men and Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during a race at Spring festival in the village of Pitlyar. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia, August 2008. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Khanty men and Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during a race at Spring festival in the village of Pitlyar. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia, August 2008.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) adult, antlers in velvet, walking across upland moor, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August. - Mark  Hamblin
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Mark Hamblin / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) adult, antlers in velvet, walking across upland moor, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August.
Young Sami girl leading Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) at start of Spring migration. Kautokeino, Norway, 1972. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Young Sami girl leading Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) at start of Spring migration. Kautokeino, Norway, 1972.
Traditional Sami shoe made from Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) skin. Norway, 1996. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Traditional Sami shoe made from Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) skin. Norway, 1996.
Chukchi man rounding up herd of Reindeer / caribou (Rangifer tarandus) near their winter pastures on the Chukotskiy Peninsula. Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, spring 2010 - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Chukchi man rounding up herd of Reindeer / caribou (Rangifer tarandus) near their winter pastures on the Chukotskiy Peninsula. Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, spring 2010
Chukchi herder leading two of his draught Reindeer / caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Chukotskiy Peninsula, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, spring 2010 - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Chukchi herder leading two of his draught Reindeer / caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Chukotskiy Peninsula, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, spring 2010
Nenet girl feeding Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during summer migration, Yamal Peninsula, Russia. May. - Arne Hodalic
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Arne Hodalic / Nenet girl feeding Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) during summer migration, Yamal Peninsula, Russia. May.
Nadia Takui, a Chukchi girl, dressed in a traditional reindeer skin Kerker (knee length coverall) outside a Yaranga (tent) at a reindeer herders' summer camp. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Ru... - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nadia Takui, a Chukchi girl, dressed in a traditional reindeer skin Kerker (knee length coverall) outside a Yaranga (tent) at a reindeer herders' summer camp. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Ru...
Nadia Takui takes Rima Votgyrgina, age 18 months, to watch the reindeer during the Chukchi 'Festival of the Young Reindeer' out on the tundra. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, August 201... - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nadia Takui takes Rima Votgyrgina, age 18 months, to watch the reindeer during the Chukchi 'Festival of the Young Reindeer' out on the tundra. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, August 201...
Sasha Takui, a Chukchi reindeer herder, pulls up the hood of his Kukhlyanka (reindeer skin parka) while out working with his reindeer at their autumn pastures. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, R... - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Sasha Takui, a Chukchi reindeer herder, pulls up the hood of his Kukhlyanka (reindeer skin parka) while out working with his reindeer at their autumn pastures. Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, R...
Nadia Takui, a Chukchi girl, dressed in a traditional reindeer skin Kerker, (knee length coverall) sitting at the edge of the polog (sleeping area) in a Yaranga (tent) at a reindeer herders' summer ca... - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nadia Takui, a Chukchi girl, dressed in a traditional reindeer skin Kerker, (knee length coverall) sitting at the edge of the polog (sleeping area) in a Yaranga (tent) at a reindeer herders' summer ca...
Chukchi reindeer herder, Vanya Votgyrgin, walks amongst the reindeer herd with his lasso during the Chukchi 'Festival of the Young Reindeer.' Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, August 2013... - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Chukchi reindeer herder, Vanya Votgyrgin, walks amongst the reindeer herd with his lasso during the Chukchi 'Festival of the Young Reindeer.' Iultinsky District, Chukotka, Siberia, Russia, August 2013...
Nenets boy driving a Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) sled near his family's winter camp in the Yamal. Western Siberia, Russia, February 2009. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nenets boy driving a Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) sled near his family's winter camp in the Yamal. Western Siberia, Russia, February 2009.
Elderly Nenets woman feeding bread to a tame Reindeer / Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) at entrance to her tent. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1993. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Elderly Nenets woman feeding bread to a tame Reindeer / Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) at entrance to her tent. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1993.
Nenya Vanuito, a 2 year Nenets girl, approaches a reindeer at her family's winter camp on the tundra near Tambey. Yamal Peninsula, Western Siberia, Russia. March 2011 - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nenya Vanuito, a 2 year Nenets girl, approaches a reindeer at her family's winter camp on the tundra near Tambey. Yamal Peninsula, Western Siberia, Russia. March 2011
Nenets boy feeding bread to Reindeer / Caribou yearling (Rangifer tarandus) at winter camp. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1996. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nenets boy feeding bread to Reindeer / Caribou yearling (Rangifer tarandus) at winter camp. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1996.
Nenets herders' winter camp with Reindeer / ~Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herd in the forest. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1996. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Nenets herders' winter camp with Reindeer / ~Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herd in the forest. Yamal, Siberia, Russia, 1996.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in snowy forest, Finland, January. - Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in snowy forest, Finland, January.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) close up of eye, Cairngorms Reindeer Herd, Inverness-shire, Scotland, UK, December. Introduced species. - Laurie  Campbell
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Laurie Campbell / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) close up of eye, Cairngorms Reindeer Herd, Inverness-shire, Scotland, UK, December. Introduced species.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) silhouetted against sky, walking across upland, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August. - Mark  Hamblin
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Mark Hamblin / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) silhouetted against sky, walking across upland, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) mother and calf, Laponia World Heritage Area, Lapland, Sweden, July. - Staffan Widstrand
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Staffan Widstrand / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) mother and calf, Laponia World Heritage Area, Lapland, Sweden, July.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) female, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK, January. Introduced species. - Ann  & Steve Toon
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Ann & Steve Toon / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) female, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK, January. Introduced species.
Young Svalbard reindeer (Fratercula arctica) lying on ground, Svalbard, Norway, July 2008 - Wild Wonders of Europe / de la Lez
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Wild Wonders of Europe / de la Lez / Young Svalbard reindeer (Fratercula arctica) lying on ground, Svalbard, Norway, July 2008
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) male with antlers in velvet, Ny Alesund, Svalbard, Norway - Florian Möllers
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Florian Möllers / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) male with antlers in velvet, Ny Alesund, Svalbard, Norway
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) two foraging at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April. - Espen Bergersen
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Espen Bergersen / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) two foraging at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April.
Caribou migration male crossing river {Rangifer tarandus} Kobuk Valley NP, Alaska, USA. - Staffan Widstrand
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Staffan Widstrand / Caribou migration male crossing river {Rangifer tarandus} Kobuk Valley NP, Alaska, USA.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) calf suckling. Varanger, Norway, May. - Loic  Poidevin
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Loic Poidevin / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) calf suckling. Varanger, Norway, May.
Girl and grandmother milking Reindeer / Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) at herders' camp. Todzhu, Tuva, Siberia, Russia, 1998. - Bryan and Cherry Alexander
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Bryan and Cherry Alexander / Girl and grandmother milking Reindeer / Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) at herders' camp. Todzhu, Tuva, Siberia, Russia, 1998.
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) adult male, antlers in velvet, walking across upland moor, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August. - Mark  Hamblin
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Mark Hamblin / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) adult male, antlers in velvet, walking across upland moor, Cairngorms, Scotland, UK, August.
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) with bloody antlers shedding  velvet, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, September - Staffan Widstrand
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Staffan Widstrand / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) with bloody antlers shedding velvet, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, September
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) fighting, Cairngorms Reindeer Herd, Inverness-shire, Scotland, UK, December. Introduced species. - Laurie  Campbell
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Laurie Campbell / Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) fighting, Cairngorms Reindeer Herd, Inverness-shire, Scotland, UK, December. Introduced species.
Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) standing nest to Reindeer skull, Wrangel Island, Far Eastern Russia, August. - Sergey  Gorshkov
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Sergey Gorshkov / Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) standing nest to Reindeer skull, Wrangel Island, Far Eastern Russia, August.
Close up of Foot of Reindeer in snow (Rangifer tarandus) Lapland, Norway - Reinhard / ARCO
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Reinhard / ARCO / Close up of Foot of Reindeer in snow (Rangifer tarandus) Lapland, Norway
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) feeding, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, March 2009 - Wild Wonders of Europe / Liodden
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Wild Wonders of Europe / Liodden / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) feeding, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, March 2009
Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) grooming foot, Svalbard, Norway, August. - Uri  Golman
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Uri Golman / Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) grooming foot, Svalbard, Norway, August.
Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) antlers in velvet, grazing. Spitsbergen, Svalbard, July. - Ole Jorgen Liodden
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Ole Jorgen Liodden / Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) antlers in velvet, grazing. Spitsbergen, Svalbard, July.
Close-up of Reindeer moss (Cladonia rangiferina), Frensham Common Nature Reserve, Surrey, England, UK, April - Chris Gomersall / 2020VISION
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Chris Gomersall / 2020VISION / Close-up of Reindeer moss (Cladonia rangiferina), Frensham Common Nature Reserve, Surrey, England, UK, April
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