When people think of reindeer, they think of Christmas. Reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh and are featured in Christmas cards and festive music worldwide (usually sporting red noses).

But how much do you really know about this northern-most deer species, roaming the Arctic fringe?

Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) rear view lying down, resting at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. April.

To celebrate the first day of advent,  Nature Picture Library have put together 25 Festive Reindeer Facts! Did you know, for example, that reindeer first became associated with Santa through poetry? Download the full story PDF, featuring some of their best reindeer images, here.

Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) rear view lying down, resting at sunset, Svalbard, Norway. ©Espen Bergersen/naturepl.com
Nature Picture Library story of the month – the real Rudolph