Since Santa was unavailable, Chris Andrews, the director of the aquarium at the California Academy of Science, handles two reindeer that are part of a live holiday exhibit. Visitors can enjoy indoor snow flurries, an igloo, crafts, a visit from “Santa Claude” the alligator character and other holiday-themed programs through Jan. 2.
Do the reindeer make a lot of noise? They’re capable of making a lot of noise. [But] they’re pretty quiet.
If you could have a reindeer as a pet, would you? No, I would not. They are large, make quite a mess in your backyard and you’d have to have more than one because they like to live in groups.
What’s your usual area of expertise? I work with a lot of fish and snakes.
Were the reindeer on the academy’s living roof? They were actually on the roof. We took them up in the elevator and did a photo shoot.
How do they interact with humans? Very well. They are sort of a semi-domesticated species.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about them? Males grow antlers and shed their antlers once a year, usually during winter, so arguably Santa’s reindeer are all female.