Professor Ruins Christmas By Pointing Out Why Reindeer Probably Didn’t Make Fun Of Rudolph’s Nose

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer probably was not bullied for his crimson snout—because he and his fellow reindeer cannot see the color red.

In news that may shock the North Pole, University of Exeter scientists have revealed that Santa’s sleigh-pullers lack the color-detecting eye cells that humans use to detect red.

The same applies to orange—meaning Donner, Blitzen and the rest might struggle to spot any carrots left out for them at Christmas.

Santa health problems

Reindeer can’t detect the color orange so might struggle to see carrots left out for them at Christmas (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Explained Professor Martin Stevens, of the University of Exeter:

“Reindeer can’t see red light or tell the difference between red, orange and green. So they wouldn’t be able to see the red of Rudolph’s nose or the orange of carrots.”

“However, they do have ultraviolet vision, and use this to see lichen hidden in the snow in the Arctic, and potentially even spot white wolves or other predators because fur absorbs UV light whereas snow reflects UV light.”

“So a camouflaged white wolf to us would stand out to reindeer.”

Apart from the UV vision, reindeer eyesight is a little like that of dogs, which are also unable to tell the difference between red, orange and green.

Professor Stevens and his colleagues’ work on animal vision also includes horses, leading to a trial of new colors on fences at racecourses.

The Twittersphere had plenty of feelings about the news.

Some pointed out a few other reindeer facts.

While others clarified why the other reindeer were laughing at Rudolph—the oh so brightness of his nose, not the color.

Didn’t they listen to the song?

A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.