Thermal imaging proves Rudolph's nose really is red
The festive story of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, may be based on scientific fact, according to a new study.
Researchers in Sweden have used thermal imaging cameras to capture the heat coming from reindeer.
They found that while most of the animals' bodies are well insulated by their fur, their noses glow bright orange due to the large amounts of heat they release.
That's because reindeer have a high concentration of blood vessels in their nose and lips to help keep them warm and sensitive when rummaging through snow as they search for food.
Professor Ronald Kroger, a zoologist at Lund University in Sweden, said that these even led to the animals' mule, or snout, taking on a reddish colour.
He added: "When reindeer are feeding, their mules are exposed to very low temperatures as they look for food under the snow. They need to maintain sensitivity in order to know what they're actually eating.
"They pump warm blood into the mule which means it can be a bit reddish because of this strong blood flow. The thermographic cameras show the heat coming from their body. The eyes and the mule are lighter and warmer than the rest of the body."
The story of Rudolph, the reindeer with a glowing red nose, dates back to a book written in 1939 by Robert L May. (© Daily Telegraph, London)