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Tragic truth behind 'terrifying' reindeer with glow-in-the-dark antlers

Tragic truth behind 'terrifying' reindeer with glow-in-the-dark antlers

People were left pretty creeped out after finding out the real reason why the reindeers resembled Blackpool illuminations

It's easy to presume that Santa might be trialling out new flying techniques when you spot a reindeer sporting glow-in-the-dark antlers, but it turns out that Christmas magic isn't to blame for this weird occurrence.

And after finding out the real reason behind the luminous branched horns on the heads of the adorable animals, people reckon it is actually quite terrifying.

If you've dialled back your social media usage in the last few days, you might not have seen the snaps which are currently going viral - yes, even though we're in June - of reindeers with reflective antlers.

All sorts of theories were being flung around by people online about the purpose of this, with some suggesting that the deer species might have had a weird genetic mutation which turned their antlers into gleaming sticks.

But obviously, this is not the case.

People reckon the real reason the reindeers antlers were glowing in the dark is quite terrifying (X/@AMAZlNGNATURE)
People reckon the real reason the reindeers antlers were glowing in the dark is quite terrifying (X/@AMAZlNGNATURE)

In actual fact, us humans are to blame for their altered appearance - but don't worry, it was done with the best of intentions in mind, rather than people pimping up their pets.

It turns out that these reindeers were photographed a few years ago in Finland, where officials decided to douse the animal's antlers with reflective paint to make them more visible to motorists during the night.

Sadly, there is a high rate of road traffic accidents (RTA) involving reindeers in the country, so herders decided to get creative in the hopes of protecting their animals.

According to the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, up to 4,000 die in RTA's each year.

The strange safety method was first introduced back in 2014 by Finland's Reindeer Herders Association, which explained at the time that it was testing the special spray's durability in different weather conditions.

Reindeers had their fur and antlers sprayed during this trial period, but it was the latter that was believed to be most effective as 'they are seen from every side,' according to Reindeer Herders chairwoman Anne Ollila.

The move was thought to be especially effective throughout Finland's dark months in November and December, which is when drivers also have to navigate extra-icy roads.

While discussing the idea, social media users on X confessed they were pretty creeped out by it.

Finland first  introduced the safety measure back in 2014 (X/@AMAZlNGNATURE)
Finland first introduced the safety measure back in 2014 (X/@AMAZlNGNATURE)

One said: "Today I learned that in Finland they use to have about 4,000 reindeer/car accidents a year so they paint their antlers with reflective paint and this is vaguely terrifying."

Another wrote: "I see an analog horror in the making here."

A third joked: "Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to kill."

Others pointed out it looked a lot like Harry Potter's patronus which he could conjure up in times of trouble.

For those who are now planning on flocking to Finland to find a luminous reindeer, hold off on booking your flights - as by 2016, the Reindeer Herders Association realised it wasn't doing much to save the animals.

The association said: "Drivers often mistook reindeer with reflectors for people in the dark, thinking they wouldn't run into the middle of the road when they saw car headlights approaching. And the deer would tear the reflectors off."

Later that year, a reindeer tracking app was rolled out which allowed motorists to flag reindeer sightings on roads as well as alerting people who are behind the wheel when they were heading near a reindeer hotspot.

Thankfully, this approach seems to be going quite well.

Featured Image Credit: X/AMAZlNGNATURE

Topics: Animals, Weird, World News, Viral