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The term ‘deer’ actually covers quite a wide and varied mix of creatures, usually animals with hoofs, and including animals such as elk, mule deer, moose, and the relatively common white-tailed deer, giving the name for rather obvious reasons. The wide mix of animals have the potential to live in almost any kind of habitat, and it’s this what has had them branded somewhat of a ‘nuisance animal’. Although these creatures are usually going to scamper off at the mere sight of you, the damage they can do to gardens, trees, vineyards, crops, orchards, and more is extensive.
What do deer look like?
You will more than likely encounter the white-tailed deer, which is the most prolific deer across North America. The size of this one species alone can vary massively, with some weighing in at around eighty pounds, the heaviest being over three hundred. The average deer is about six to seven feet in length also. As you can imagine, being quite large animals, you’ll notice them for sure if they’re hanging around.
Make deer are most notably known for their large antlers, which get bigger with age. The more dominant males have the bigger antlers also, helping them to win territorial wars.
The camel deer, also called deer fawns, do not have these impressive antlers, but do have small white dots all of their furry coats. The primary reason for this is camouflage.
Where do deer live?
As we have already mentioned, deer have the adaptability to live in a wide range of both habitats and climates. They can live just as happily and comfortably in swamps as they can in dense forest areas. You’ll find them almost everywhere, in the biggest and most open of fields to farming and agricultural areas. You’ll even find them both in the coldest of climates and temperatures, and the warmest. Believe it or not, you’ll even find deer in the desert. In fact, the only two places in the world that you won’t find deer are Australian and Antarctica. Australia is probably too far away for the mammal to travel without human intervention, and Antarctica ... the same can be said, but they also likely freeze to death.
It is when the deer are closest to humans that they tend to flourish and thrive. These human populations often come with farmland near by, and it is this that draws them closer.
What do deer eat?
Deer eat plant life — they are herbivores. Nuts and acorns are there if fruits, plants and vegetables are scarce, and evergreen trees and plants and grasses will even take their place when the food situation is really dire. It is during the colder, winter months that these mammals have the hardest time, and they will, quite literally, take what they can get, even stripping bark from otherwise undesirable trees. They will try to avoid this for too long, however, as the winter-found foods usually offer very little, if anything, in the way of nutritional value or calories.
What is the life cycle of deer?
Deer usually mate when the weather is in their favor — during the summer. Males will fight each during this time, using their sometimes huge antlers to spar with each other. The biggest and most dominant males will win the rights to mate with the best and most females. Only the strongest and most dominant deer will reproduce successfully.
The males actually go a little crazy during the mating season, doing everything they can to find the best females — the ones who are ready to mate. Solo stags will search for hours, and sometimes days, on end. They will give up on food entirely during this time frequently too. The thought of mating really does take over everything within the animal, almost driving it into a frenzy. It’s hardly surprising really; the females are only ready to mate for a period of about two or three days. It would be easy for the deer to miss the boat entirely, so to speak.
How long the female deer, or deer fawn, is pregnant for will vary from species to species. On average, the gestation period is usually around ten months long. They will then remove themselves from the herd to give birth in private, doing whatever they can to make sure their young are born in the safest spot possible. This will usually be in the middle of an area of packed vegetation. There can be two fawns born at once, but it is generally the norm for a single youngster to be born per mating season.
Once born, it can take a few minutes for the deer to find its feet, usually around half an hour or so. From the time of birth until the time it stands, the mother will lick her newborn, nudging it slightly and teaching it to get up. It won’t be for at least a few days before the youngster will be brave enough to wander more than a few feet from where it was born, and the mother won’t stray too far when looking for food for her babies either. It’ll take a couple of weeks before the fawn is ready to leave the birthing spot and join the rest of the herd. The mother won’t actually cut all ties until she is ready to give birth to another fawn (or two) during the following year.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How to Get Rid of Deer
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