Wildlife experts at the Texas A&M University have recently been seriously pondering the gender of Rudolph and the other reindeer that haul Santa’s sleigh.
According to Alice Blue-McLendon, a veterinary medicine professor specializing in deer, “Santa’s reindeer were really females, most likely.” With evidence pointing toward the antlers because as it “turns out reindeer grow antlers regardless of gender, and most bulls typically shed their fuzzy protrusions before Christmas.”
However, Greg Finstad who manages the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks believes that Santa’s helpers may actually be castrated males, know as steers. According to Finstad:
“Young steers finish shedding their antlers in February and March, just as nonexpecting 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.”
Continuing, Finstad states that:
“Sledders most often use steers because they maintain their body condition throughout the winter… 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.”
So is Rudolph a boy or a girl? Two experts, two theories. I don’t know about you, but Rudolph always seemed a bit metro to me. And if I had to pick which scientific theory to ruin all my childhood memories, I’d probably pick the later.