Rudolph is a female reindeer?
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, and the rest of his sleigh pulling friends, is apparently a female, according to new research done at the Texas A & M University.
This may be part of the reason why Santa doesn't get lost on his annual trip around the world, and according to veterinarians, Santa's reindeer were most likely females because only females retain their antlers at this time of year - the males have shed their 'decorations' just before Christmas time.
However, the reindeer could be castrated males, also known as steers, but that doesn't seem like very good Santa behaviour...
Young steers finish shedding their antlers in February and March, just as non-expecting females do. Bulls generally lose theirs before Christmas, while expectant mothers retain their antlers until calves are birthed in the spring. This allows them to protect food resources through harsh weather and to have enough for developing fetuses, he said.
Sledders most often use steers because they maintain their body condition throughout the winter, he said. Bulls are tuckered out from rutting season when they mate with as many as a dozen females in the months leading up to December. That leaves them depleted and too lean to pull a sleigh or sled through heavy snows, Finstad said. Many females are pregnant after rutting season, which lasts from summer and into the fall. That would mean long hours of backbreaking work for an expecting Rudolph, as well as Donner, Blitzen, Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Comet and Vixen.