Take the antlers, for example. Unlike many other antler-bearing animals, both male and female reindeer have antlers. But, while the bulls shed their antlers in late autumn, the cows keep theirs. The mother must be able to protect her calf from predators. Her antlers also help her to keep bulls away from her fodder. In addition, in winter, heavy antlers are an encumbrance for bulls after the rutting season. They must conserve energy.
Unlike many other antler-bearing animals, both male and female reindeer have antlers.
It has been said: “The reindeer has a shiny red nose and lives in a harsh environment where food is scarce”. Besides the fact that it only has a shiny red muzzle in Disney productions, the reindeer is well-adapted for thermoregulation and finding fodder. The reindeer’s winter coat provides highly efficient thermal insulation. But cold weather poses a problem only if the animal has developed its summer fur and summer is delayed. The more significant issue, instead, is how to lose heat. Therefore, a system has evolved that allows blood to be circulated out to the legs, where a lack of subcutaneous fat means that the blood is cooled. Another mechanism enables the reindeer to lose excess heat. Like dogs, reindeer have large tongues and panting regulates their body temperature.