It’s the season of giving and joy and children across Montana are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and his reindeer, and the gifts they’ll be delivering. To help make Santa’s upcoming trip successful, the Montana Department of Livestock has officially cleared the way for Santa and his reindeer to enter Big Sky Country.
Unlike most other animals passing through the state, Santa’s reindeer possess the unique and remarkable ability to fly. And rumor has it, they benefit from the occasional carrot or even cookie which gives them energy to pull Santa’s sleigh loaded with all those presents.
Reindeer are also built for the cold and are covered in two layers of hair from their nose to the bottom of their feet for maximum insulation. And the smallest of Santa’s reindeer, Rudolph, was born with an incredibly unique characteristic: a bright, red, glowing nose which serves as a safety beacon light during inclement weather.
“As most everybody in the livestock industry knows, we do control movements of animals in and out of our state to help protect against disease, to protect against theft and fraud” said Michael Honeycutt, executive officer with the Montana Department of Livestock. “So all people who are bringing livestock, including Santa Claus, need to contact the office and figure out what requirements they need to meet. Regarding Santa Claus and his reindeer, obviously, he's maintained a close herd up there for hundreds of years and they're only going to be in the state for a short period of time. Up at the North Pole, there's not much chance for those reindeer to get exposed to other things. So we don't have any concerns and we've let him know that he's welcome to come to Montana with his reindeer and deliver presents to all the good boys and girls from one end of the state to the other on Christmas Eve night, Christmas morning.”