Ed note: Hopper Bros. will be bringing two live reindeer to the Central Coast: through Dec. 11 at the Santa Maria Fairpark and Dec. 13 to 19 at 8th and Spring Street in Paso Robles.
NEW TIMES Why are the reindeer coming here?
HOPPER Last year we brought the reindeer for our special 25th anniversary celebration. There was so much interest, and everybody enjoyed them so much that we brought them back for a second year
NEW TIMES Where do reindeer come from?
HOPPER These particular animals reside on a reindeer farm near Tehachapi most of the year
NEW TIMES How do they fare in warmer climates?
HOPPER They fare just fine. …. It does get hot out there on the tundra in summer. They’re tolerant of heat. Of course, they prefer the cold. There’s thousands and thousands of hair per square inch.
NEW TIMES What is unique about their lifestyle?
HOPPER Reindeer come from Lapland, and they were domesticated by the Laplanders thousands of years ago. They’re more of a domesticated animal than a wild animal. … It’s the only member of the deer family where both the male and the female have antlers. … When they walk they’re ankles have a snap to them—a crack—and that’s so they can keep track of each of them. They’re totally a herd-instinct animal.
NEW TIMES We’ve heard they’re mean; is that true?
HOPPER That’s not true. Where somebody might get that idea: A lot of people think they’re fuzzy, warm, cuddly like a kitty or a dog. But they’re more like a domesticated range animal. … They’re used to people, but they’re not pets. ∆