Christmas Comes Early at Blackpool Zoo with a ‘Sleigh Full’ of New-Born Reindeer!
Blackpool Zoo has welcomed a ‘sleigh full’ of reindeer calves this Spring!
The eight new-borns have been named after Santa’s famous crew - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.
The youngsters are expected to grow quickly over the summer ready for winter conditions and, of course, the Christmas festivities – the only one missing is Rudolph!
Five girls and three boys were all born to separate mothers, but share a father – the head of the herd who is named Ghost.
Ghost arrived in Blackpool from Dudley Zoo last year and it is safe to say his first mating season has been a complete success after all but one of the nine breeding females gave birth to a healthy calf.
When keepers at the seaside zoo counted eight little calves, it only seemed right to give them festive names!
The original eight reindeers of Santa’s sleigh were named in the 1823 poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’, which is also known as ‘The Night Before Christmas’.
Johnpaul Houston, Assistant Head Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We are enjoying a wonderful birthing season here at Blackpool Zoo this year with new babies arriving every day.
“There has been a lot of excitement at the reindeer house after we welcomed eight healthy calves over the last few weeks.
"We have everyone apart from Rudolph . . . so we do wonder if Santa will be getting in touch later in the year!
“They are all absolutely gorgeous and are already running round enjoying this glorious weather!”
Reindeer calves are typically born in May and June. In native countries such as Finland, calves are born when the snow has started to melt and the weather is getting warmer.
Reindeer calves are well developed when they are born with lots of fur for insulation. Their birth weight doubles during the first month and antlers start to grow in the first weeks.