Deer Santa, new antlers please…
Tuesday 19 December 2006
ZSL London Zoo’s two reindeer are showing off their brand new antlers, just in time for Christmas. And as the zoo gets into the festive spirit their new antlers received an “elf and safety” inspection.
Cedar and Tanana, both two, have spent the year re-growing their antlers after shedding last year’s headgear. Like any fashionable women, these female reindeer won’t be seen in last season’s antlers and each year they grow slightly different ones.
Once reindeer have shed their antlers they start re-growing and the new ones are covered with a fine coat of fur known as velvet. The velvet contains all the blood vessels needed for growth and eventually falls away from the bony antler. Male reindeer usually lose their antlers altogether by early December while females keep theirs into the New Year.
Cedar and Tanana are residents of the Children’s Zoo, an area of ZSL London Zoo that includes a farmyard petting area designed for youngsters to get closer to the zoo’s inhabitants. Both reindeer are frequently walked around the zoo by keepers so visitors can get a good look at these incredible animals.