“Guess what, Mommy? I know how to say ‘reindeer poop’ in three languages,” my five-year old said, as we strolled down the street, passing a large pile of poo.
“Oh really. Let me hear it,” I said, wondering what third language she’d recently picked up.
“‘Reindeer poop‘ in English, ‘Reinsdyr bæsj’ in Norwegian, and ‘Rein skit‘ in Finnmarking (the local dialect).”
“Wow, that’s pretty amazing,” I said as she smiled proudly and continued dodging the poop/bæsj/skit scattered on the sidewalk.
Several thousand reindeer, owned by Sami reindeer herders, have summer pasture on the island we live on: Magerøya. They arrive in the Spring and leave in the Fall and by the middle of the Summer they’ve reached Honningsvåg. I’ve seen them hanging out in the grocery store parking lot, heard the clip-clop of their hooves outside our bedroom window, and caught them munching on my neighbor’s perennials.
Quick confession: I didn’t yell at them to get out of our neighbor’s yard until after I took the photo. I couldn’t help it, I’m absolutely fascinated with these animals.
I understand why people get annoyed with these hungry beasts that eat every plant in sight. And one can not forget the fact that what goes in, must come out. Whatever you choose to call it, poop/bæsj/skit, it’s never fun to step i a huge pile of it.
However, I’m a BIG fan of these animals. Maybe it all goes back to Rudolph and his remarkable nose. In fact, here are some amazing facts I’ve found out about reindeer.
- Their antlers are made of a special bone that grows faster than any other kind of bone – up to 1 inch a day in the summer!
- Reindeer have hooves with four “toes” on each foot. These toes spread out, creating a type of snowshoe to help them walk on snow and ice.
- Reindeer are considered to be the only mammals that see ultraviolet light. This helps them spot things that blend into the Arctic landscape, like fur and urine from predators.
- One reindeer eats enough food each day to fill up two large garbage bags.
- And they really do have remarkable noses, with extra-long nasal passages that warm up the cold arctic air before it enters their lungs.