Deer, the Wild Animal That Sheds Its Antlers Every Year

Deer, a ruminant mammal is widely spread throughout the world and could be seen in many countries. One of the main characteristics with them is the shedding of antlers by the males every year. With reindeer even the females do so. Though there are other animals that resemble them that do not shed their antlers annually, they are not true members of this species.

Weight of a deer may vary from 70 to 700 pounds. The smallest one is the Northern Pudu that has an average weight of 20 pounds and the largest variety, the Moose could weigh as much as 1000 pounds. These animals have compact bodies and strong legs that enable them to run fast. They are good jumpers and also good swimmers.

Deer have glands near their eyes that secrete a scent that is used to mark their territory. They rub their heads against trees to leave the scent for other animals of the same species to know that the territory has its own herd. Very often, hunters use these marks to learn the whereabouts of herds of deer.

The gestation period of a female deer could go on up to ten months. When the fawn is born it is able to walk in a few minutes. Its mother licks the young one until the scent is clear from the fawn. When she goes in search of food, the fawn will hide in the grass. After about one month, it is strong enough to walk along with its mother and it also goes in search of food. Normally a fawn will stay with its mother for around one year. The male fawns will not comeback but the females often comeback with their own offspring to form small herds of deer.

Meat of the deer is called venison. New Zealand is the biggest exporter of this product. European settlers took the animal there and soon they became a nuisance as they started destroying crops. First the animals were killed by poisoning and shooting but in the 1960s people started rearing the animals for meat. Today New Zealand has over 3000 deer farms.

Deer is responsible for many accidents on US highways. 1.5 million accidents are caused by deer every year in the US. They cost the US economy a $1.1 billion and the number of deaths occur is 150 per year. Deer stands on the middle of the road motionless when the headlights are focused on it often causing accidents.

Source by Brian Neil

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