Deer are some of the most beautiful creatures. They have been hunted by man and used as food as well as clothing and the antlers were sometimes used as weapons or tools.
Deer are included in what is called the ‘Cervidae’ family of animals. This family includes other species such as reindeer, moose and elk.
- Deer have hooves and even-toes.
- Deer adapt well to a lot of habitats but prefer to live in what is called ‘edge’ locations. These are usually wooded areas with enough grazing and food.
- The male deer grows antlers and when they fall off they will grow again the next year.
Antlers are an extension of the bone and when they first start growing they are covered in a kind of ‘felt’. The felt contains blood vessels and as it dries the male deer must rub the felt off to expose the antler underneath. They usually rub against tree bark to remove the felt.
- There are animals such as the antelope that look a lot like deer but antelopes have horns. Horns are permanent and do not grow back each year like antlers.
- The antlers of a male deer grow out into many extensions called ‘points’. The male deer make use of their antlers to fight and to get the attention of the female deer.
- Many of the deer species have been hunted solely for the collection of the antlers.
A male deer is called a ‘buck’, however a very large male deer may be referred to as a ‘stag’.
- Female deer are usually referred to as a ‘doe and the baby deer are called a ‘fawn’.
- Fawns are born with spotted coloring to allow them to be camouflaged in the grasses. They usually lose the spotted coloring within their first year of growth.
- A fawn will take its first steps within thirty minutes of its birth.
Young deer will remain around its mother for the first year of its life.
- When a group of deer are together, it is called a ‘herd’.
- Different species of deer have various leg lengths that suit whatever area that is their habitat.
Deer have the ability to jump quite high and they are also quite excellent swimmers.