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Santa's Reindeer Are All Female

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Except, possibly, Rudolf. Here's the proof...

Santa on his sleigh, being towed by his reindeer

The first clue is that their names are not gender specific: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (“Donder” in the original Clement Moore poem), and Blitzen. The exception, of course, is Rudolf - but more on that in a moment.

We’re speculating that savvy Santa wisely opted for an all-girl sled-pulling squad on purpose. Even though they are mythical reindeer we’re talking about, there’s actual evidence to support the femme-centric reindeer theory. It’s all about the antlers.

Did you know that male reindeer shed their antlers in early December? Females retain their headgear all winter long. In pretty much every depiction of St. Nick making his iconic Christmas Eve run, the team pulling his sleigh are sporting antlers, ergo, said reindeer are female.

To top this off, there’s a thoroughly practical reason for Santa to hitch his harnesses to an all-female team: Female reindeer have about a 45 percent greater fat-to-body-mass ratio than their male counterparts. This extra tissue serves as insulation that keeps them warm in frigid conditions as low as minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 43 degrees Celsius), and baby, it’s cold outside - especially in the upper atmosphere. We rest our case!

Book cover of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

So, we hear you cry, what about Rudolf? Well, as it turns out, Rudolph, created in 1939 by department store copywriter Robert L. May, may in fact be the only male reindeer in the bunch. Before finding fame in song as well as on film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was the hero a children’s story. In the book’s original cover art, Rudolph’s red nose may indeed be shining brightly - but he’s not sporting antlers, only cute little nubbins.

So, is Rudolph’s antler deficit due to the fact he’s a juvenile female reindeer… or is it because he’s a boy? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.

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