Whenever we think of Christmas, we usually think of Santa Claus and his magical, flying reindeer. They are beautiful, aren’t they?
What really sets them apart from deers isn’t their magical powers. It is actually their antlers that create such interest among people.
I mean, they are not simple horns! In fact, they are not horns at all! Reindeer antlers are something else entirely.
These beautiful creatures, also named caribou, live in the mountains among various indigenous people.
They are a wonder!
Now if you are more interested in how reindeer grow their antlers, you are in for a treat because I will explain their life cycle today.
And I’ll also include some interesting facts about these antlers!
Reindeer Antlers: The Life Cycle
The entire cycle of the antlers starts around the month of February. At this time, these antlers are just nubs on the reindeer’s heads.
And they will grow about half an inch every single day for the entire spring and also early summer.
They start curving!
Now these C-shaped antlers will start growing thick but soft velvety fur on themselves throughout the rest of the summer.
This fur actually holds a lot of blood vessels as well as nerves that will help the antlers grow even longer.
Velvety, not for long!
A few months after the appearance of this velvety fur, the antlers will grow to their fullest, and the fur will no longer stay on them.
This is because they will start to rub or strip off this velvety fur from their antlers from the first week of the month of August.
So the reindeer antlers will be left with sharp and hard bone structures. They do this to prepare for their mating season; they involve themselves in a rut.
After the rut is done, they will shed their antlers in the month of November as well as December.
Reindeer Antler Facts
Now I’ll tell you about some of the most interesting facts about the antlers of reindeer in a moment:
- The antlers of a reindeer are actually made out of bones that come out of its head. Only reindeer, moose, deer, and elk are able to do such a thing.
- Usually, only males are supposed to grow antlers because they need testosterone to grow. But female reindeer also get antlers.
- The male reindeer use the antlers for mating in their mating season to fend off the other reindeer. After that, they shed the antlers.
- As I have already told you earlier, the antlers have velvety fur on them while growing.
- Because of the blood vessels, the velvety fur is really sensitive to touch. And that is why they should be protected at this time.
- The velvety fur usually stays on for about three months before craving, and the reindeer peel them off to uncover the shiny bony branches.
- We humans have a lot of nerves inside our bones, which is why we feel so much pain when we hurt our bones. But these antlers are different. They don’t have any nerves, which is why they can rut with other reindeer.
- As I have said before, the antlers of reindeer are not actually horns. This is because horns are made out of keratin, which stays attached forever, but antlers don’t have keratin.
- The fact the antlers have nerves around them that helps them shed and regrow every single year baffles scientists, as they are really unique mammals.
The reindeer antlers are not horns but bones, which makes them that much more interesting in the eyes of human beings. These mammals are so unique that they make people wonder if they really do have any magical powers.