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Reindeer, Santa Visit Depot Square in Tuckahoe

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – Dasher and Dancer couldn't make it, but reindeer Sparky and Skeeter came to Depot Square in Tuckahoe with Santa on Sunday.

Mayor Steve Ecklond designated special parking spots for the reindeer but they opted to stay in a pen where they had food and water. Their owner, Lauren Chandless said both Sparky and Skeeter are 2-years-old and live on a farm with horses and foxes in Pine Bush, N.Y., about an hour north of Tuckahoe.

"Reindeer are one of the few animals with horns or antlers where both male and females have antlers," Chandless said. "But both Sparky and Skeeter are both males."

Chandless said reindeer are grazers and munch on hay or grass all day long, but their main meal is a different story.

"We feed them reindeer chow," Chandless said. "It's sort of the same thing as dog chow, but for reindeer."

Chandless pointed out to some of the kids the special features reindeer have. "They have big flat feet so they can rest on the top of the snow not cut into it like a horses hoof," she said. “They have fur everywhere, in their ears, and on their noses to fight the cold.”

One of our reindeer testers Lola Milazzo, 6, of Bronxville said that Skeeter's fur was "very soft."

Milazzo also said that even though their names were Skeeter and Sparky, she feels they are still qualified for certain holiday-related jobs. "It's okay they have different names, they can still pull Santa's sleigh," Milazzo said.

Although November and December are busy months for reindeer, Skeeter and Sparky spend their summers the way most of us do. "They basically stay in the water all summer to keep cool," Chandless said.

Skeeter and Sparky have already asked Santa for a Christmas present that they really want, Chandless said: "They want some cold weather and snow for Christmas.”

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