This Animal Life

The Astonishing Truth About Rudolph‘s Nose and More

December 12, 2021

In the home stretch of this holiday season, wildlife veterinarian Jerry Haigh, author of Reindeer Reflections: Lessons from an Ancient Culture, sits down with you for a one-of-a-kind romp through the reindeer lore and science. Reindeer are sure to put you in the mood for peace on Earth.

Get to know these stunningly gorgeous and supremely gentle creatures, find out when and why to call them "caribou," and learn how spellbinding their lives are under the northern lights. Included in the Show Notes, below and on the This Animal Life website, you'll find many links to videos that will further immerse you in their beauty and wonder. 

Jerry Haigh is a cross between James Herriot and Farley Mowat, a wry and compassionate veterinarian who’s ventured far from his native Scotland to travel four continents, all to bring health and healing to animals, both wild and domestic. He's written books about everything from porcupines to rhinos, but his latest book finds him tending to the reindeer of Finland and Mongolia. 

So strap on your snowshoes and tromp along as Jerry regales you with mind-blowing facts about reindeer. For example what, if anything, is so special about Rudolph's nose? Discover the stunning truth about this supremely peaceful animal.



Adopt a Reindeer Foundation

Cairngorm Reindeer Herd on Facebook

Cairngorm Reindeer Herd: Home  The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer found in the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. These tame and friendly animals are a joy to all who come and see them. Reindeer are not just for Christmas!

Caribou (Reindeer),” National Geographic.

Follow Thousands of Reindeer on an Epic Journey,” Nature on PBS, YouTube, November 2020.

Haigh, Jerry, Reindeer Reflections: Lessons from an Ancient Culture, Rocky Mountain Books, October 2021.


Highly competitive reindeer males control female behavior during the rut,” by G. Body et. al, PLoS One, National Library of Medicine, April 2014.

Intelligence of reindeer. “On Reindeer and Men,” by Tim Ingold, Man, New Series, Vol. 9, No. 4, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, December 1974, pp. 523-538. 

Living With Reindeer,” Nat Geo WILD, Youtube, December 2016. Winter is coming and indigenous Sami reindeer herders make preparations for their domesticated reindeer. 

Norway, the Twilight of Reindeer,” Show Me The World, YouTube, November 218. Sami herders struggle with the threat of global warming. 

Red noses on reindeer.

Reindeer” by Travis Kemp, podcast, Calming Facts, December 2020. A hilarious (and relaxing) list of cool reindeer facts.

Reindeer Cyclone Videos

Top 5 Reindeer Moments,” on BBC Earth -- 20 amazing minutes just chilling with reindeer and their peaceful personalities. All about riding in a sleigh and witnessing the northern lights. Chockfull of beauty and fascinating facts. Super charming!

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