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Santa’s Reindeer Must Be Female

reindeer

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • depict: to show visually
  • antlers: branch-like horns made of bone
  • mating season: the time of year when animals reproduce


Santa’s Reindeer Must Be Female

If you’ve ever seen images of Santa Claus’s reindeer, you know that they are always depicted with antlers. After all, the word reindeer means horned animal in Old Norse (a North Germanic language). Unlike most deer, both male and female grow antlers. Like other deer, reindeer shed their antlers and grow new ones each year. Males use their antlers to attract females and other males. They usually drop their antlers after mating season in November or early December, and in the warmer months . Female reindeer, on the other hand, keep their antlers until spring. A female uses her antlers during her winter to protect her food. Since male reindeer lose their antlers before Christmas, Santa’s reindeer must be female!

Comprehension Questions

  1. What does the word reindeer mean, and which language did it originate from?
  2. What do male reindeer use their antlers for?
  3. Why do the depictions of Santa’s reindeer suggest that they are female?

Discussion Questions: The plural form of reindeer is reindeer. What other animals have the same singular and plural form in English? Why do you think this is the case?

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