Deer living in our time form a group of animals that includes about forty species. The exception is female reindeer.
The smallest deer weighs about two kilograms. And his height does not exceed twenty-five centimeters. Its scientific name is small kanchil. Zoologists call him a deer. Among the deer, the "giant" is the African deer - its weight can reach fifteen kilograms.
Deer have no horns. But they have large fangs, so big that they stick out! In general, deer are the most primitive of all ruminants. By the way, they are the most ancient in this group. The reindeer while away the day in hollows! The deer choose these hollows not high above the ground. They go out to feed only at night. African deer live in humid places, while Asian deer live in arid places.
Deer are cautious. That is why they can rarely be seen in the forest. If by chance a deer happens to be next to a person, then within one moment it disappears into the thickets and not far from this place waits for the person to leave. Protects deer and patronizing coloration - therefore, even in the clearings, they are difficult to find. And if we also take into account the fact that reindeer can stand motionless for a long time, it turns out that one must walk in their habitats with great caution.
The deer can inflict ... lacerated wounds on its opponent. Yes, this cute and meek (in appearance) animal has long fangs. In no case should it be stroked, since a calm animal in this case will instantly turn into an animal. Deer swim and dive well. If there is water nearby, then this ability of the deer is another type of escape from pursuers.
The diet of reindeer includes not only plant foods. They eat insects, crabs, small fish, bird eggs, and even birds themselves. The fact is that although these animals belong to ruminants, their stomach consists of three chambers - the digestive system is not sufficiently adapted to digest a large amount of plant food only.
Musk deer are one of the transitional forms from deer to red deer. Musk deer is a primitive deer. Individuals of this species of deer live in Altai and the Sayan Mountains, and also inhabit the mountains of Siberia and the Far East. Musk deer are nevertheless closer to deer, only larger in size. The same fangs protruding by ten centimeters. The basis of food is bushy lichens, which is why these deer prefer to settle in the spruce forests on the southeastern slopes of the mountains. Musk deer do not live in herds.
Musk deer skilfully save themselves from danger. If a predatory animal or a hunter is chasing them, musk deer simply confuse the trail. They do it in a very original way: first they run forward, then, as if stepping on their own tracks, they come back and jump somewhere to the side. And the musk deer jump masterfully! If such maneuvers do not help them escape from the pursuit, then these deer quickly climb the mountains, and along such steep slopes that even wolves cannot climb.
The reason for the extermination of the musk deer was the possession of these muscular pouch deer. It is found on the belly of the male and includes about forty grams of musk. The reindeer themselves need it to mark the territory of attracting females. People need it for the preparation of medicines (in China), and it is also used to preserve the aroma of perfumes. It is known about the existence of a mosque in the east, which was built in the distant fourteenth century. So, the building materials include musk. The fragrance of the temple has survived to this day. Although these deer have many natural enemies, such as lynx, wolverine, fox, the number one enemy remains a man, for whom musk deer is a very valuable trophy.
Water deer resemble musk deer in appearance. They also have no horns. Only water deer (as the name implies) live along the shores of water bodies: lakes, rivers and even swamps. They inhabit the territory of Eastern China.
Muntjak is the only deer that has both fangs and antlers. The latter, however, do not yet possess the properties of conventional weapons. These deer live in Southeast Asia.
Deer often shed their antlers. They do this annually. Every year, deer change antlers, while new ones never repeat the outlines of old ones. The time for the shedding of old horns falls on the end of the mating season.
Deer have the most branched antlers in their prime. Young deer are born with small and simple antlers; as individuals mature, sprouts appear on the antlers, and with old age the antlers again become simpler.
New horns are growing at an amazing rate. Namely: one centimeter per day. Each time, they are formed from cartilage tissue. Interestingly, the newly grown horns are distinguished by their warmth and softness. Young horns even feel insect bites. It is because of their sensitivity that deer cherish new antlers.
The red deer is a typical representative of the red deer. Since ancient times, he has widely populated Eurasia, North America and North Africa. Nowadays, scientists count from 15 to 18 subspecies of red deer, the appearance of each of which is very different from the others. These deer live both in forests (from the south of the taiga to the north of subtropical forests) and in the mountains (from alpine meadows to the foot of the mountains).
The European red deer is very unpretentious in food. Their diet includes tree bark, pine shoots, lichens. They are very fond of fresh herbs, mushrooms, wild apples, acorns, chestnuts, etc.
During the mating season, the deer "create harems." They are herds of only one male and three to twenty females. During the mating season, it is very common to hear the roar of the male at dawn.
Red deer babies are born in a "secluded place". They are born spotted. The calves spend the first week of their life practically without movement. And the mother comes up to them only to feed them - the rest of the time she walks not far from the cubs. But already in the second or third week, the cubs begin to follow their mother, and after a month they start to pick the grass on their own. In the second year of life, young males grow simple horns.
Roe deer are the smallest European deer. They got their name due to the oblique arrangement of the pupils. These deer have a short body, on the head there are vertically set antlers, which have from three to five tines.
Roe deer have many natural enemies. These include lynxes, wolves, foxes. Cubs of roe deer are forced to lie for the first week of life, hiding in secluded places, and different ones. This gives at least one deer a chance to survive.
The fallow deer was artificially settled. Fallow deer in natural conditions lived in the Mediterranean countries. Then it was completely exterminated, and then, indeed, the fallow deer population began to recover - with the help of the same person. Russian conditions are not very favorable for deer life. Nowadays, it inhabits some territories of the Baltic States, Ukraine and Belarus. The largest number of individuals live here in hunting grounds. The fallow deer cannot walk in deep snow, which is why it must be fed during the winter months.
The fallow deer is always spotted. Most deer are born spotted, and then lose this color once and for all. Doe is gone. Their mottled skins help them camouflage - the spots blend in with the glare of the sun. However, this is only good when living in evergreen forests. In forests where trees shed their foliage for the winter, the deer have to "change clothes" during these very months, thereby getting rid of unnecessary stains.
The elk is the largest deer. The largest elk can weigh up to half a ton, and the antlers can reach two meters. These deer have a powerful chest and large head. Moose have excellent hearing - their large ears turn to the source of the sound at any extraneous rustle. Elks inhabit the cold and temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere.
Since ancient times, moose have been destroyed for their skin. Camisoles and trousers for the Russian army were made from it. But by the beginning of the last century, it had to be abandoned. At that time, there were very few elks ... Due to the complete ban on hunting these animals, their population began to increase. Currently, about 600 thousand individuals live in Russia.
Moose are well-tamed animals. For example, if only a baby is born from a bottle, he will immediately become attached to his wet nurse. However, it is very difficult to maintain large elk farms, since one elk eats about seven tons of feed a year - and this is mainly bark and branches. True, in their natural environment in the summer months, moose love to feast on aquatic plants.
Natural enemies of the moose are bears and wolves. The latter usually attack in a group. Bears are most dangerous in spring - after hibernation. True, the outcome of the battle can be disastrous for both the elk and the bear itself.
Reindeer are nomads. By the onset of summer, herds of deer are forced to leave the northern forests even further north - they are driven by gadflies and gnats. In autumn, these animals return to the forests. The reason is that in the tundra the winds forcefully compact the snow, and the deer underneath it cannot dig out. The spring and autumn routes are the same, the water crossings are the same. The sizes of migrations are determined by 800 kilometers. It is interesting that young females with fawns are the first to set off in the spring - they cross rivers on ice. Males, wandering to the north a little later, have to swim across the rivers.
The female licks the calf that has just been born dry. This is to keep the baby from freezing. During this procedure, the female remembers the baby's smell. The fawn itself recognizes its mother by its voice. An interesting fact is that already on the second day after birth, the cub runs well and even swims.