Animal with magnificent horns and graceful appearance always causes excitement among the people who met him in the wild. Deer – cloven-hoofed mammal with amazing workers and external characteristics was the main hero of numerous tales, legends and stories handed down from generation to generation. The current animal’s name comes from the old word “Elen”, because in the distant past was called the Slavic peoples of the beast with branched horns.
Characteristics of European red deer
The size of a deer depends on the habitat and characteristic features of the species. For example, a Northern breed grows from 0.8 to 1.5 meters in height and two meters in length. The mass of an adult individual is 200 pounds. The length of the tufted deer rarely exceeds one meter and a weight of 50 kg.
Red deer is the most graceful and popular, because it stands out the slender body with proportionate addition, an extra-long neck and a slightly elongated head. The animal are yellow-brown eyes and slightly concave in the jaw broad forehead. If one species of deer legs slim and graceful, the other short. In any case, for all types of typical well-developed muscles and fingers, placed to the side.
The age of a deer is determined by the condition of the teeth. For example, a specialist may understand how the animal years by looking at the degree of grinding of the canines and incisors, their curvature and angle of inclination.
Almost all species of deer have a graceful, branched horns which are called antlers. Except for the hornless water. It should be noted that these bone spikes are only on the head of males, females they are absent. However, the reindeer this trend is unusual, because there the females have small horns.
A significant portion of these cloven-hoofed animals, and especially those who live in the temperate zone, and annually carry out dropping the horns, and then in their place grow new ones. Initially, these processes are composed of cartilage, and over time, grows dense bone tissue. The growth rate of the horn depends on the intensity power. The richer the diet, the higher the speed of regrowth of the horn. If deer habitat is tropical forest and there they for several years not to throw the horns. Representatives of the Equatorial zone do not lose them.
The main purpose of horns
- Protection from predators. It is known that the deer is a favorite food of many predators, including bears and wolves. Strong horns allows you to protect your flock and the offspring of a fatal outcome.
- Attack in case of danger. The furious animal could easily run at the enemy and inflict serious wounds. There were times that the male, protecting the family, killed a few wolves.
- The struggle for the female. Graceful antlers allow males to defeat the other and win the female.
In winter period red deer is cluttered with thick and long fur, and in summer, thin and short. Color fur coat is determined by the type and area of natural habitat. Meet the brown, coffee-brown, red-brown, brownish, gray, brown, solid, as well as individuals with spots or distinctive markings.
The animal is in the list of fastest mammals, as when escaping from a predator it can develop incredible speed of 50-55 miles per hour.
Where to find deer antlers
A significant part of the horned deer is found throughout Europe and North America. Other species live in Asia, South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The maximum age under normal diet and appropriate conditions up to 15-20 years. If the animal is raised in a deer farm or zoo, life expectancy increases to 25-30 years.
A distinctive feature of deer is the simplicity to habitat conditions. Horned able to live in the impenetrable forests on the slopes of the Alpine mountains, plains, and wetlands. Most species found in areas with high moisture or near water. Almost all individuals do not stay in one place for long and constantly move. In summer, the animals form packs and roam the plains and forests with the abundant nutrients of plants. In the winter they go into the impenetrable part of the forest, hoping that there is more food than on the snowy plains.
What eats deer
All deer feed on vegetable food, and of nutrition are determined by the region’s habitats and species.
In the spring, cattle are fed grass, umbrella and legumes. In summer the animals go into forest areas in search of nuts, chestnuts, mushrooms, berries and nutritious seeds of various plants.
In all the warm seasons deer saturate your body with buds, leaves and young shoots of trees. From falling on the eyes of fruit, including pears and apples, the animal refuses. During the winter cold snaps we have to nibble the bark of trees or twigs of plants. The lack of proper mineral content in the winter food animals make up the salt from salt licks or mineral sources. They can also gnaw the ground, which is quite soaked with salts and minerals. If the body lacks the required amount of protein, animals start eating their discarded horns or birds ‘ eggs.
The main varieties
Currently, deer are divided into 3 subfamilies, 19 genera and 51 species. It is important to understand that, in addition to noble or reindeer, in nature there are other species, including deer, Pudu, ROE deer, moose and other.
Among the most popular and well-known in the world of deer following varieties:
Belongs to the genus of true deer and consists of 15 subspecies. In this breed there is a distinctive white spot near the tail and just above the tailbone. Color does not provide the spotting, and the horns stand out a lot of branches (especially if we are talking about the European kind), resulting in a graceful crown. The size of an adult specimen may reach 2.5 meters in length, and 1.3-1.6 meter height. Depending on the subspecies and forage, animals can gain up to 300 pounds of weight. Little Bukhara deer hardly grow up to 170-190 cm in length, weighing up to 100 pounds.
In the diet of red deer are legumes, nutritious herbs and grasses. In winter the animals gnaw the shrubs, feed on fallen leaves, mushrooms, chestnuts and tree bark. Do not refuse to fir or pine needles, lichens or acorns. In the absence of normal salt balance in the body shifts to natural or artificial salt marshes. The area of occupancy of an adult can reach several hundred kilometers. The size of the territory determined the availability of food and females.
The red deer range is Western Europe, Scandinavia, China, and Australia and New Zealand. The main condition for the normal life of this species is the presence of the reservoir in close proximity. The herd can be 10 individuals, but during mating, the number grows to 30 individuals.
The second name of this breed – the caribou. The main feature of these animals, and unlike other relatives is fully covered with thick fur upper lip and horns in females. The adult male grows to 1.9-2.1 meters in length and weighs 190 pounds. The length of females is 1.6-1.9 metres and a weight of 123 kg. reindeer differs stocky build and lack of refinement when compared with other species.
The main ingredient of the diet is grass growing in the snowy tundra, shrubs, berries and mushrooms. If the body is not enough protein, the animal has to eat birds ‘ eggs, and sometimes young Chicks. Cattle often eat small rodents – lemmings. In permafrost, the main food is lichen and moss. If salt balance is below normal, the animal has to drink sea water or eat their own discarded horns.
Live members of the species in the tundra and taiga, North America and some the Islands of the Arctic ocean. Large flocks can meet in the plains, in mountainous regions or wetlands.
Distinguished by the absence of horns, both females and males. Grows to 75-100 cm long, 45-55 cm in height, and has a body mass of from 9 to 15 pounds. Adult male are curved teeth, which are visibly protruding from under the upper lip. Coat colour brown and the main food is the young juicy grass, leaves, shrubs and river sedge. Because of the voracious appetite and lack of fodder animals can cause serious damage to agricultural crops and to make devastating raids on the rice fields. In the wild, meet on the floodplain of the rivers in the Eastern and Central part of the people’s Republic of China and on the Korean Peninsula.