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The most famous (visiting) reindeer of all

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

There were Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous visiting reindeer of all?

Reindeer Lucky and Christi arrive at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Lucky and Christi, two female reindeer, are making a guest appearance at the zoo for all six weeks of WildLights presented by KeyBank, the zoo's all new winter lights festival, opening tonight, Nov. 23.

And with nine other famous reindeer on your minds this holiday season, it’s only appropriate to honor each of them with nine fascinating facts about these sleigh-pulling beauties.

1. Reindeer are also known as caribou in North America. Though, many use “reindeer” to describe domesticated caribou.

2. Different species of caribou live throughout subarctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. In the U.S., caribou inhabit the northern-most territories of the states and roam throughout all ten Canadian provinces. However, their populations are dwindling. Today, caribou are severely endangered in the Northwest.

3. It is the only deer species in which both the ladies and the gents grow antlers. Every year, reindeer shed their antlers and grow a new pair. The males shed in the winter, but the females won’t shed theirs until after they give birth in the spring.

4. Although reindeer can’t fly, they can run at speeds up to nearly 50 miles per hour! And they’re great swimmers, clocking in at 6 miles per hour.

5. Typically, reindeer are herbivores and will eat around 12 pounds of food a day. Unlike other deer, reindeer rely on lichens, or fungus, during the coldest months. Lichen withstands freezing temperatures and fuels reindeer with carbohydrates that will keep them trekking for miles on a full stomach.

6. Using their antlers, reindeer shovel through snow and chisel frozen ground to find food.

7. Reindeer live in herds. Most reindeer will travel among a group of two to five reindeer.

8. People have relied on reindeer for thousands of years. In some cultures, reindeer were fully domesticated and kept for milk and transportation.

9. The image of Santa’s sleigh being pulled by flying reindeer first appeared in American popular culture in the early 1800s.

Get your holiday dose of reindeer at WildLights, your only chance to visit Lucky and Christi at the zoo. You'll find them on WildLights nights in their barn located near the Historic Carousel.

Snap a photo of the reindeer, or other WildLights sights, using Instagram and tag @woodlandparkzoo and #wpzwildlights to be automatically entered to win a zoo prize package each week of WildLights! (Please make sure your Instagram account is set to public.) The Instagram contest runs through January 1. For contest rules and details, visit

WildLights presented by KeyBank. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

WildLights presented by KeyBank officially opens to the public today, Nov. 23. Buy your tickets online in advance at We hope you'll enjoy seeing the zoo in a whole new light!


Anonymous said…
The reindeer are one of the best parts of WildLights! Love the reindeer.