Is a Deer a Reindeer?
In the spirit of Santa's arrival by sleigh, I thought this was an appropriate topic of discussion. A Reindeer is a deer, but not all deer can be Reindeer--remember the all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares bit of knowledge from Geometry?? Deer as we in southeastern Pennsylvania know them are: White Tailed Deer or Odocoileus virginianus. Sometimes we think of them as beautiful mammals and at other times they are the creatures that eat your plants, play chicken with your cars, and/or spook your horses. These deer are a member of the family Cervidae much like other species such as Moose, Elk, and of course Caribou (or Reindeer). The family Cervidae distinguishes itself by its characteristic cranial appendage, the antlers. All but one species has antlers. The only species where both the male and female have antlers are: Caribou or reindeer, Rangifer tarandus. The general difference between Caribou and Reindeer are that the Reindeer are a domestic subspecies, and the Caribou are wild . This is why we generalize Prancer, Dancer, Comet, and Blitzen as Reindeer--their wild cousins living in Alaska, Canada, and Russia. Wild Caribou are endangered species after thousands of years of predation by man and beast. They still play a very important role in the customs of the people of the arctic. Several Scandinavian, Siberian, and American native cultures are built around the herding of the caribou.
The Reindeer pictured here can be found at Schmidt's Christmas Tree Farm at 1741 Flint Hill Road in Landenberg, PA. Schmidt's generously donated a tree to TLC's Winter Solstice celebration.