Some of the world’s most fascinating, adaptable, and necessary creatures are deer. Deer have long been used as a source of food and resources by people. Five of the seven continents are home to deer, and they live in a variety of habitats.
Several different species of animals are referred to as deer. It’s important to understand what a deer is before we discuss the amazing and unusual deer species.
What is a Deer?
Locally, the term “deer” refers to hoofed animals. Some individuals may refer to an animal that isn’t a deer as a deer. From North America to Asia’s jungles, deer may be found.
Deer are hoofed animals that belong to the Cervidae family of scientific creatures. The “ungulates,” a group of animals, are also included in this category.
Large animals with hooves for feet are referred to as Ungulates.
From the height of a small dog to that of a large automobile, true deer may vary in size. Antlers are found on top of the heads of most deer species, although vampire-like fangs are seen in some.
Deer are all strict vegetarians, feeding exclusively on vegetation. For large predators like wolves, bears, and big cats, the deer themselves are a valuable source of food.
Antlers are shed and regrown by most deer every year. Sheds are the name for the antlers that have fallen. The antlers of stags are retained throughout the deer’s life. Abnormal testosterone production is the most common cause of this. This is typically due to injuries or abnormalities.
Antlers are shed and regrown by most deer each year. Sheds are the name for the antlers that have fallen. Stags are deer that have retained their antlers. Abnormal testosterone production is the most common cause of this. This is usually caused by injuries or abnormalities.
10 Common Species of Deer Around The World
With the exception of Australia and Antarctica, deer may be found on every continent. Here are ten of the most fascinating and widespread deer species in the world.
1. Axis Deer (Axis axis)
Chital deer or spotted deer are two other names for Axis deer. India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are among their natural habitats.
Axis deer are a sought-after trophy species that is imported. The biggest importer of hunting ranches is Texas.
A typical adult axis deer grows to be 37 inches (95 centimeters) tall and weighs between 165 and 220 pounds (75-100 kilograms).
Their antlers, which can stretch up to 30 inches (76 cm) long and feature three tines each, are very common.
The body of an axis deer is brown, with white markings and a black stripe along the spine. Their throats and underbellies are usually white.
2. Chinese Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis)
Only adolescent male Chinese water deer do not develop antlers, which is unique among deer. Instead of developing fangs, they develop lengthy canine teeth that give them the appearance of vampires.
China and Korea are home to these spooky-looking deer. They prefer to be near rivers for the majority of their time.
The shoulder height of an average adult Chinese water deer is 18 to 21 inches (45-55 cm). They may range in weight from 17 to 30 pounds (8 to 14 kg).
The coats of water deer are usually dark gray or light brown. The coat becomes thicker and scraffer in the winter.
3. Elk (Cervus canadensis)
Elk are actually the second-largest deer species, despite being considered different animals. Wapiti comes from a Cree and Shawnee term, and Elk are also known as Wapiti.
A mature Roosevelt elk may weigh up to 1100 pounds (500 kg) and reach heights of 5 feet (1.5 meters) at the shoulder.
In the warmer months, elk have a reddish-brown or copper coloration on their coats. They get a lighter tan coat in the colder months. Their antlers may stretch to be four feet (121 cm) long.
They have various subspecies and are native to North America. This was nearly accomplished by European colonization of North America. Elk have only just returned east of the Mississippi River.
Elk may live in mountains and swamps, but prefer woodlands and forests.
4. Fallow Deer (Dama dama)
The European continent is home to fallow deer. Open clearings in thick woods and forests are where you’ll find them most often.
A 30 to 40 inch (80-110 cm) shoulder height is typical in an adult fallow deer. It might range in weight from 55 to 280 pounds (25-130 kg).
The markings on fallow deer help them stand out from other species of deer. They have white dots all over their bodies and are cream-colored brown.
Fallow deer antlers have a distinctive shape because they are broad and flat. Their length ranges from 27.5 to 70 cm.
5. Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus)
South America’s largest deer, marsh deer, lives there. Wet environments in the rainforest, riverbeds, and marshes are their preferred habitats, as the name suggests. Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina are now home to them.
The shoulder height of an average adult marsh deer is 40 to 45 inches (100 to 115 cm). They may range in weight from 220 to 260 pounds (100-120 kg).
The coats of the marsh deer are shaggy and reddish. Their fur gets darker in the winter, and their legs are usually black or brown.
Marsh deer have distinct hooves as a result of their marshy settings. They’re particularly broad and flat, which prevents them from getting bogged down in soft ground. Their hooves’ surface area is further increased by the webbing between their toes.
The antlers of marsh deer have a ten to twelve-tined structure. Their antlers may stretch to be 23 inches (60 cm) long. They don’t shed their antlers seasonally because they’re tropical animals. They may even retain their antlers for up to two years.
6. Moose (Alces alces)
The world’s largest species of deer is moose. They are found in Canada and Alaska, and are indigenous to the colder parts of North America. Elk are a subspecies of moose that may be found across Europe and Asia’s chilly woods.
The shoulder height of an average adult moose ranges from 5 to 7 feet (152–213 cm). They may weigh anywhere from 250 to 600 kg (550 to 1800 lbs).
Moose’s massive size, humpbacked back, and huge skull distinguish them from other animals. Their fur is thick, and their mane on the chest and shoulders is darker.
Moose are most common in the far north, where they dwell in thick frozen forests. They can swim to feed on aquatic vegetation and adapt to marshland. Killer whales have taken them as a unintended meal.
Moose have the greatest and most weighty antlers of any deer. They can grow horizontally from their head and reach lengths of 6 feet (1.8 m). Large flat areas with many tines characterize the antlers.
7. Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
Western North America is home to mule deer, which are native to the region. Black-tailed deer may be classified into two subspecies. White-tailed deer is also connected to them.
Mule deer reach a shoulder height of 35 to 41 inches (90 to 105 cm) on average. They may vary in weight from 110 to 475 pounds (50-215 kg).
The large ears of mule deer are named after the species, which has mule-like ears. Their fur is a grayish color that becomes darker in the winter. Their skull is considerably darker than the rest of their body, resulting in a V-shaped patch.
Mule deer favor open, arid environments in general. Mule deer may be found in arid grasslands, mountains, and deserts. They can be found in thick woodlands and damp conditions and are incredibly adaptable.
A mule deer’s antlers may stretch three feet (1 m) in width and measure up to 31 inches (78 cm) in length. Each antler has four tines, although there may be fewer.
8. Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)
Behind moose and elk, red deer are one of the world’s biggest deer. One of their greatest strengths is their diversity. Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Northwestern Africa are all home to these species.
In Africa, they are the only deer species.
Elk and red deer are cousins, but elk is significantly bigger. Because of the strong resemblance, Europeans referred to elk in North America as “wapiti.” Whether or not they were the same species was once up for debate. Red deer and elk, on the other hand, were discovered to be two separate deer species in 2004 by DNA testing.
The shoulder height of adult red deer is roughly 47 inches (120 cm) and they range in weight from 220 to 770 pounds (100-350 kg).
The silky red coat of hair on red deer is well known. On their chests, they also have a thicker and fluffier patch of fur.
Red deer prefer open woodlands and forests, despite their enormous natural range. They may be found above the treeline, feeding in mountainous areas.
Semi-desert hilly places have become home to some red deer. The Atlas Mountains of northern Africa are one example. In Scotland, the most common place to find red deer is on open moorland.
9. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
One of the most well-known species of deer is reindeer. Because they assist Santa Claus bring gifts to children every Christmas Eve, they are known as the helpers of Santa Claus. They hail from the frigid regions of North America, Europe, and Siberia.
The same species both reindeer and caribou. Reindeer is the name given to them in Europe. Caribou is the North American name for wild reindeer.
The shoulder height of a typical adult reindeer is 32 to 47 inches (82 to 120 cm). They may range in weight from 80 to 330 pounds (40-150 kg).
In order to keep heat loss at bay in their frigid habitat, reindeer have tiny ears and tails. Their fur is extremely thick, grayish or white in color, with black legs and a black nose.
Reindeer prefer the far northern hemisphere. Arctic, subarctic, boreal woods, and hilly places are all home to these creatures. Migratory or permanent residents are possible. This is determined by the herd and geographic location to which they belong.
The antlers of female reindeer are the only ones among deer. The antlers are thought to aid the deer in capturing sustenance amid the snow and ice. The backward-facing tines and hairy look of reindeer antlers distinguish them from other antlers.
10. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
White-tailed deer is the most well-known of all deer species. Since they are so popular in the hunting community, this is the case. Bambi, a Disney movie, is where they got their fame.
From North, Central, and South America, white-tailed deer may be found. Hunting ranches in various countries have also imported them.
White-tailed deer shoulder height ranges from 35 to 41 inches (90 to 105 cm) tall. They might weigh anywhere from 110 to 250 pounds (50 to 115 kg).
Depending on their location, they may grow to be quite diverse in size. Northern regions are home to the larger white-tailed deer. However, in the south, the tiniest deer live.
The distinctive white mark on the rump of white-tailed deer earned them their name. White patches on the throat and underbelly of these creatures are possible. Gray or brown is the most common color for their coat.
White-tailed deer may adapt to a variety of habitats, despite their woodland nature. They can now be found in communities and around farms. As a result, they’ve been known to become pests at times.
Deer Hunting and the Relationship Between Humans & Deer
Our early ancestors had a relationship with deer that goes all the way back to then. Early hunter-gatherers depended on deer for food, along with other large mammals. Hunting deer might be considered an important aspect of our tradition.
Deer and people are still inextricably linked today. Our species’ encounters become more prevalent as our species expands into its natural environment.
Deer Hunting in the Past
Throughout our history, deer have served as a valuable source of food for humans. Herd movements of huge animals were originally adopted by societies throughout the year.
For subsistence hunters, deer are a dependable source of food. Their flesh is a excellent source of nutrition. They have hides that may be utilized for both shelter and clothes. Tools can even be made from their bones and sinews.
Humans would have evolved differently if deer hunting had not existed.
In a harsh environment, deer meat was the primary food source for certain groups. Indigenous communities in the Arctic ate mostly caribou and seal, which they hunted. Migrating herds continue to provide the majority of food for many of these communities.
Hunting was exclusively reserved for the aristocracy and owners in medieval times. It was regarded as a form of amusement rather than a source of food.
Gamekeepers were once employed by landowners throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. To ensure that there is plenty of game and fish on their land, they do this.
Gamekeepers created a habitat that enabled animals to come, and the nobility were led on expeditions. They were also tasked with identifying poachers and procuring game meats.
Deer hunting for peasants was a dangerous game at the time. To supplement their diets and avoid starvation, many needed to hunt. All game on a lord’s property, however, was forbidden for them since it belonged to the lord.
Elk in North America were nearly exterminated by European immigrants in the past. Elk had been eliminated from the eastern United States by the end of the 1800s. They’ve since recovered across the country.
Deer Hunting Today
In 2020, the United States alone had 11.4 million deer hunters registered. For both humans and deer, deer hunting is an important activity.
Deer hunting is regulated by each state government within its borders. In addition, the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department employs biologists. Deer populations are monitored, and hunter data is collected.
Regulations are set based on the following factors:
- Number of hunters
- Breeding seasons for deerEach species’
- population figures are listed.
Each county within a state has its own hunting window and rules.
The state wildlife agencies are funded by fees paid for hunting licenses. Hunters help support their conservation by killing deer every year.
White-tailed deer, mule deer, and axis deer are all targets in the United States. The regulations are the lowest for these species. Since their populations are the biggest and most stable, this is the case.
Many individuals find hunting to be contentious.
Hunting is an important part of our history, however this is understandable. Hunting can be done safely and ethically, which is the most important thing.
Incompetent hunters and over-harvesting, on the other hand, may have significant negative effects on deer populations. These problems, on the other hand, are unusual and seldom encountered.
For sport hunters, deer are imported to hunting ranches all over the globe. Exotic animal hunts are popular in Texas, as are imports from all over the globe. These huge acres of land are used to release animals for later hunting. Medieval European hunts are highly similar to this.
Most ranches are hundreds or thousands of acres, despite the fact that they may be fenced in. They are often large enough to attract wild deer and may easily support herds of deer on their own.
Despite the fact that the property is fenced in, most ranches cover hundreds or thousands of acres. They are frequently large enough to attract wild deer and may easily support herds of deer on their own.
Human Impact on Deer Populations
Humans appear to have the upper hand in deer-human interactions. Deer have benefited as well as people from using them as a resource.
Forests are regularly cut down in North America to make place for farms and other structures. White-tailed deer, which prefer open woodlands, have benefited greatly from this.
White-tailed deer are likewise fiercely territorial. People aren’t the only ones who leave when others arrive. They may live on farms or communities since they can quickly adapt to a new environment.
All deer species face roadways and housing issues. Around 1.5 million automobiles are involved in accidents every year in deer-caused crashes. These collisions kill and injure countless individuals, as well as causing millions of dollars in damages.
Deer can quickly cross roadways and traverse neighborhoods in search of food. They can adapt to having people around quickly, although the vast majority will stay away.
Deers have been influenced significantly by humans throughout history. They’ve been hunted to the verge of extinction in certain regions. Deer have flourished in regions where people have become acclimated to their presence and human activities.
Many environmental hazards confront deer species. They may, however, inadvertently cause environmental disasters as well.
Deer are obviously hunted by humans, which puts them under considerable pressure. Other environmental factors, on the other hand, may have a stronger impact on their populations. The biggest threats to deer are pollution, urban expansion, and agricultural development.
Deer, like all other creatures, need clean areas in order to survive. Deer may be severely harmed by water source pollution. In arid places with limited water supplies, this is extremely problematic.
Plastic pollution and pesticide runoff are also harmful to deer. DDT is an agricultural insecticide that stands for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane.
One of the primary reasons for deer population decrease is urban development. Deer don’t flee a region simply because humans arrive. As previously stated, they don’t do so. As a result, they are often struck by automobiles. Being a pest species, it also drives them out of an area.
Deer populations may be harmed or aided by agricultural development. It removes a significant portion of their native environment, yet it provides food throughout the year. The species of deer has a significant impact on the true effect of farming activity. Elk and moose do not do well around humans, whereas white-tailed deer thrive.
Elks in Yellowstone
In addition, deer pose a threat to the environment. Remember when we talked about elk at Yellowstone National Park? In the area, they were on the verge of ecological collapse.
For farming and ranching, people flocked to Yellowstone in the past. Large predators of all sorts were present when they arrived. Mountain lions, especially wolves, and huge bears.
Ranchers killed the majority of these huge predators to defend their herd. Elk populations grew at a rapid pace in Yellowstone without the wolves. There was no longer a natural predator to keep their numbers in check.
Elk needed more food as their population increased, since the area’s resources were insufficient. Tree saplings didn’t have the opportunity to develop tall since overgrazed grass died off. There were several big erosion events. This shifted the course of rivers, making it unsuitable for other animals like beavers.
The entire ecosystem began to collapse because there were so many elk in the area. Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone as a result of this. To lower elk population numbers, a large culling was also done by humans.
Overhunting, global warming, and urban development are all threats to deer. They are, nevertheless, quite flexible and hardy. Just a few deer species are at risk of extinction. In reality, today’s deer populations are declining faster than they were a few centuries ago.
Thankfully, when it comes to their future, deer don’t have much to worry about.