Spraying reflective paint on reindeer antlers makes them more visible to drivers.
Gimme the gist
Imagine driving down the countryside in the evening, minding your own business. Suddenly, a four-legged animal catches your eye, standing by the side of the road. It looks like a pretty regular reindeer, except you could swear its antlers are on fire. Wait, no, not on fire, but glowing in the dark like lightsabers.
In Finland, this may just become a common sight—and it’s not some whimsical Christmas decoration. Reflective antlers may end up saving reindeer lives and preventing serious road accidents.
As many as 4,000 reindeer in Finland get hit and killed by cars on a yearly basis. This happens especially during the dark November–December period, when the animals are difficult to see and the cars are hard to steer on roads covered in ice.
A potential solution is being tested by the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association: spraying the antlers with reflective paint that should make the animals a lot easier to spot.
During the test period, about 20 reindeer had their antlers painted with different fluorescent dyes to see how they’d react and whether the paint would stick. Previously, similar attempts with reflective tape and glued-on reflectors failed because the animals would rip these off.
If the antler-painting tests are successful, the 200,000 Finnish reindeer the herders are currently in charge of will get a glow-in-the-dark makeover.
Hey, if it works, it works.
- BBC: Finland: Reflective reindeer antlers aim to stop accidents
- Smithsonian: To Avoid Deer Strikes, Finland Is Painting Deer Antlers With Reflective Paint
- National Post: Glow-in-the-dark reindeer: Herders coating antlers in fluorescent paint to prevent deadly car accidents