Reindeer Games

With a unique blend of science and humour, American naturalist and science educator Milos Radakovich is an extremely popular cruise ship lecturer.

He has written two volumes full of what he calls “Bite-size SCIENCE snacks” called 90 SECONDS. These articles were written to be delivered as 90 second radio spots. I have read and reread all many times.

If you are interested in ordering a copy or for more information e-mail Milos at



Look Mommy, Santa’s reindeers have tumors. Well, they’re not exactly tumors, but the word does start with a “t”…testicles.  And like all other mammals, reindeer have them. OK, HALF of the reindeer have them.

This is important because of what happened at a large shopping mall a few years ago. They decided to have anatomically correct reindeer as part of their seasonal Santa exhibit.

As it turned out, not everyone took delight at looking at that part of reindeer anatomy – correct or not. And no, this being America, one mall patron filed suit to have the offending bits removed, or at least covered with some sort of reindeer modesty shorts.

Both sides argued the merits of their respective perspectives, but in the end, the reindeer were allowed to keep what was deer to them. The problem was that while the mall manager had their anatomy right, his knowledge of reindeer natural history was a bit off the mark.

Unlike the deer most of us are familiar with, male and female reindeer look the same for much of the year. No, female reindeer do not have testicles….but they do have antlers. The problem? Male reindeer shed theirs after the breeding season – September through November – so the only reindeer who still have antlers at Santa time are the females.

And I think that’s just as well…If I had to visit millions of homes in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter, I’d just as soon have females guiding my sleigh that night. At least, if the need arose, they would stop and ask for directions.




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