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It's getting really cold where Jessi and Squeaks live, and that has her thinking about a super cool animal that's always ready for super cold weather: Reindeer!
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#scishowkids #science #winter #reindeer #santaclaus
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Who's ready for winter? Squeaks and I are! We're getting out our warm clothes and out boots. Getting ready for winter reminds me of an animal that's always ready for winter- reindeer! I'm pretty sure you've heard of them before, but how much do you really know about them? To help boost your knowledge about on of our favorite winter animals, here are four fun things that you might not know about reindeers!

First, they have more than one name. The animals that live in North America, in places like Canada, Alaska, and Greenland, are called caribou, but the animals that live in northern Europe and Asia are called reindeer. Their names come from different languages from different parts of the world. So, whether you hear this animal called a caribou or a reindeer, it's still the same animal.

And, they all live in the same general part of the world, way up north! And, the environment where many reindeer live has a special name, the tundra. The tundra is a very cool place, and when I say "cool," I mean cold. The places where we find tundra are some of the coldest on Earth. There are seasons there, just like anywhere else, but they all fell pretty cold. Even during the summer, temperatures don't usually get about 10 degrees Celsius. It doesn't rain very much in the tundra, either. Instead the ground is covered with snow for most of the year, and it's almost always frozen just a few centimeters below the surface.

This means that there aren't a lot of big plants to eat, but don't worry, reindeer can still find plenty of food. That's because these animals use their big hooves to dig through the snow. Reindeer hooves are hollow underneath, kind of like a shovel. So, reindeer can scoop the snow out of the way to uncover small plants like moss. Then, it's time for dinner. In face, the other name for reindeer, caribou, actually means snow shovel-er.

Okay, ready for another fun fact? Reindeer don't mind the cold at all. Even though you and I would find life on the tundra to be downright chilly, for reindeer it's perfect. That's because their bodies are adapted to live in the cold. Adapted means that an animal has things that help it to survive where it lives, like reindeer's hooves are adapted to help it to find food under the snow. Reindeer also have a super thick coat that has two layers: a fuzzy layer close to the skin that helps keep it warm and dry, and a thicker outer layer that's more like our hair. But, each little hair is hollow, like a straw. The air that fills up each hair keeps heat next to the reindeer's body.

Even a reindeer's nose is adapted to the cold. Reindeer noses are big and wide, and they have a special space inside of them. This space does two things; first, it helps warm up the air they breathe in, and it also helps them hang on to the heat in the air that they breathe out. Have you ever noticed when you're outside on a cold day, that you can see your breath? Well, when you see that little bit of white steam coming out of your mouth and nose, it's because warm, moist air is leaving your body. But, when reindeer breathe out, they don't see their breath as much as we do, because they keep more of that heat inside. Try this, and you'll see what I mean: Cup your hands over your nose and mouth. Now breathe out. Do you feel your hands getting warm? That's a little bit like what a reindeer's nose does; it lets the reindeer keep that heat, and when you live on the tundra, every little bit of heat helps.

OK, one more fact about these amazing animals. Reindeer are great travelers. If you watched our video about migration, you learned that big groups of reindeer travel over long distances every year. They take these trips to places where it's warmer and to places where it's safe to have their babies. Some reindeer can walk over 5,000 kilometers in one year. That's a seriously long way to go. No other land animal moves as far in a single year. So, there you have it- four things you might not know about reindeer, just in time for winter.

Thanks for joining us on SciShow Kids! Do you have a question about anything at all? Get help from a grownup and leave a comment down below, or send us an email to and we'll see you next time!

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