Cal Academy aquarium director knows reindeer games, too

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.

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