Reindeer are some of Winter’s most iconic animals, but have you ever wondered how these spectacular creatures are able to withstand such frigid temperatures without exhibiting so much as a shake or a shiver?
Reindeer evolved during the ice age, a time when the planet underwent a substantial hard freeze. During that time, animals either adapted to live in the cold or died off, and evidently, reindeer proved their resilience to the cold and now live in the Arctic region, which is one of the planet’s coldest places.
Virtually all land mammals are covered in some sort of fur that insulates them from the cold outside, but reindeer fur is exceptionally special. Unlike traditional animal fur, reindeer fur is hollow inside, and it covers almost every square inch of the animal’s body from head to toe. Moreover, the fur coat is tremendously thick, and you’d be hard-pressed to see any of a reindeer’s skin by spreading its fur apart with your hands.
As you might come to expect, all of this stacks up to a very dense fur coat that keeps the cold air out and the animal’s body heat in. The hollow hairs themselves are very important since air is a great insulator and each one captures surrounding air and then uses it to the animal’s advantage. This insulation is especially important in snow storms, as it shields the animal from wind chill.
When the cool weather settles down, reindeer moult their fur until it's time to prepare for the next chilly season. This keeps them from overheating inside of their own fur jacket in the warmer months.