Lenni feeling half the reindeer he used to be after casting mighty antlers with a combined weight of more than 10kg at Scottish wildlife park.
Lenni the reindeer has every right to look a bit down in the mouth after parting company with his prize assets.
And at almost a metre long and weighing a combined total of 10.5kg, the European forest reindeer’s newly cast horns were mighty assets indeed.
The six year-old bull looks a little odd without his awesome antlers, but at least it’s something he’s had the chance to become used to down the years.
An annual occurrence, males naturally lose them after the breeding season when testosterone levels start to decrease.
Each year a male will grow antlers from two bone nubs called pedicles on top of their skull.
While growing, the antlers are covered with highly vascular, furry skin called velvet that provides the growing bone with oxygen and a nutrient-rich blood supply. Antlers can grow around 2.5cm a day and it is only when fully grown that the antlers will shed their velvety covering – revealing the hard bone underneath.
Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: “Lenni is currently one of our older male European forest reindeer at the park and as a result of his slight maturity over the other males, boasts majestic looking antlers.
“As male reindeer mature, their antlers also grow larger and more impressive each year. Made of incredibly tough bone, the males will use their antlers to fight with other males for mating rights during the breeding season – they are a sign of maturity and strength.”