Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus

Despite being famed for only visiting Britain on one special night of the year, reindeer were actually native to Britain before dying out in the wild around 8,000 years ago. After this time, reindeer were imported as game animals and a few herds remained in Scotland until the 13th century when they were hunted to extinction. Today reindeer can still be found in Scotland after being introduced to the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre in 1952. Famous for pulling Santa’s sled; reindeer are the only deer species where both the males and females possess antlers. Interestingly, the males usually shed theirs before Christmas, leaving some scientists to wonder if Santa’s most famous reindeer, Rudolph, is actually a girl. Reindeer typically live in cold climates and are extremely well adapted to freezing conditions. They can divert body heat away from their legs to keep their torso warm in deep snow and make a characteristic clicking sound when walking which allows them to find each other in arctic blizzards. This is extremely useful during their annual migrations which can involve herds of up to 500,000 animals travelling distances of over 5000km.

Red Squirrel Soay Sheep