The Science On Santa’s Reindeer: They're All Female, Except For Rudolph

While many folks can reel off the names of Santa’s reindeer from memory, they may not have paid much attention to the fact that the names are not gender-specific. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen could be females, or they could be males. As it turns out, St. Nick opted for an all-girl sled-pulling squad on purpose. Even though they’re mythical reindeer, there’s actual evidence to support the theory that all the reindeer are female, except for Rudolph. It turns out that male reindeer shed their antlers in early December — just after the mating season — while female reindeer retain theirs all winter long. There’s actually another practical reason for Santa to have hitched his sled to an estrogen-powered team: female reindeer have about a 45% greater fat-to-body-mass ratio than their male counterparts. That extra tissue serves as insulation that keeps them warm in temperatures as low as -45º F. As for Rudolph, aside from his name being clearly masculine, in the 1939 book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph is clearly sporting little nubbins, rather than antlers. So, there you have it. If you want to explain this to your kids and grandkids while you’re telling them about the mythical Santa and his reindeer, you have nothing to lose.