There are far more reindeer in northernmost Lapland than there are people. Each reindeer belongs to someone, they are not wild animals as such, even though they roam freely in the wild. In May, nature and wildlife are at their most vulnerable as summer approaches. It is the season for reindeer calving and small reindeer calves are born in hiding, in the embrace of the forests. The reindeer is an interesting animal that you may not yet know everything about. Here are five interesting facts about reindeer that you can use on your next trip to Lapland to entertain your travel party.

  1. The colour of reindeer eyes varies with the seasons, with a golden yellow layer reflecting light in summer and dark blue in winter, which improves the reindeer’s ability to see in low light.
  2. You will hardly find a reindeer burrow here, as reindeer have such a keen sense of smell that they can smell lichen through a metre thick layer of snow, making it their most important sense.
  3. Reindeer have many different given names for things that reflect on their colour and age. For example, a Hirvas is a male reindeer over 3 years old, a Valkko is a white reindeer.
  4. The reindeer’s horn is the fastest growing bone in the world, it can grow up to 2cm in a day. The reindeer horns also affect the reindeer’s position in the herd, if the reindeer loses its horns its position is reduced.
  5. Reindeer are also excellent food, not only for meat but also for tongue, heart, liver and blood. Reindeer are rich in vitamins, iron and protein!

Writer: Suvi Värriö, tourism student, Sámi educational institute, Inari.

Get to know reindeer activities in the region