By Frank J. Buchman
No need for children or anyone to worry, cry or pout about the buck deer recently put into home freezers.
They definitely were not any members of Santa Claus’ team at the North Pole preparing for work Thursday night.
According to a college professor, who felt the concern personally, has determined all of Santa’s reindeer are female.
It’s all about the antlers, apparently. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and yes, even Rudolph, are ladies.
The original eight first introduced in the poem “The Night Before Christmas” are commonly thought of as males. But, Christmas carolers and holiday hangers-on have had it wrong all along.
Animal reproduction biologist Gerald Lincoln insists that Santa’s reindeer can’t be male for one simple reason.
“Only female reindeer still have antlers at Christmas,” Lincoln said. “Male reindeer actually cast their antlers before Christmas, so they don’t have any antlers at Christmastime.
“They have their mating season in autumn when they use their antlers to fight, but once it finishes they cast them. However, the females develop weapons when it comes to the real world of seasonal breeding,” Lincoln added.
Besides, of the 40 various species of deer on Earth, only the reindeer species has females with antlers, the professor informed.
Not only that, female reindeers have an edge over males in another way. In preparation for winter, the females build up to nearly 50 percent body fat.
The additional weight gives a couple extra inches of thick fat on their hindquarters. This helps keep them warm in temperatures as low as 45-degrees below zero.
Meanwhile, reindeer bucks typically weigh in around 5-percent body fat. They deplete the majority of their energy reserves during the previous mating season.
So when reindeer fly from the North Pole around the world only the girls are prepared for the journey.
However, Professor Lincoln did make one interesting discovery while researching how female reindeer grow and cast their antlers. Apparently, if a male reindeer is castrated, it stops the process of casting the antlers, thus he becomes more like a female.
“Rudolph could be a castrated male, or a female. I think it’s nicest to think that Rudolph was a female,” Lincoln concluded.
Contrary to popular belief, the reindeer to be flying through the air Christmas Eve pulling Santa’s gift-filled sleigh are females.