Deer (singular and plural) are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer (caribou), fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species (except the Chinese water deer) and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned animals such as antelope; these are in the same order as deer and may bear a superficial resemblance.
The musk deer of Asia and water chevrotain (or mouse deer) of tropical African and Asian forests are not usually regarded as true deer and form their own families, Moschidae and Tragulidae, respectively. Contents [hide] 1 Terminology 2 Habitat 3 Biology 3. 1 Antlers 3. 2 Colour 3. 2. 1 Piebald deer 3. 2. 2 White deer 3. 3 Evolution 4 Economic significance 5 Taxonomy 5. 1 Extant subfamilies, genera and species 5. 2 Extinct subfamilies, genera and species 5. 3 Hybrid deer 6 Cultural significance 6. 1 Heraldry 6. 2 Literature and art 7 See also 8 References 9 External links  Terminology
Deer grazing at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado The word "deer" was originally broad in meaning, but became more specific over time. In Middle English der (Old English deor) meant a wild animal of any kind. This was as opposed to cattle, which then meant any sort of domestic livestock that was easy to collect and remove from the land, from the idea of personal-property ownership (rather than real estate property) and related to modern chattel (property) and capital.  Cognates of Old English deor in other dead Germanic languages have the general sense of "animal", such as Old High German tior, Old Norse djur or d? , Gothic dius, Old Saxon dier, and Old Frisian diar. This general sense gave way to the modern sense in English, by the end of the Middle English period around 1500.  However, all modern Germanic languages save English and Scots retain the more general sense: for example, German Tier, Alemannic Diere or Tiere, Pennsylvania Dutch Gedier, Dutch dier, Afrikaans dier, Limburgish diere, Norwegian dyr, Swedish djur, Danish dyr, Icelandic dyr, Faroese dyr, West Frisian dier, and North Frisian diarten, all of which mean "animal", contrary to south European language: Dama in Latin or daim in French mean "fallow deer" only.
For most deer in modern English usage, the male is called a "buck" and the female is a "doe", but the terms vary with dialect, and especially according to the size of the species. For many larger deer the male is a "stag", while for other larger deer the same words are used as for cattle: "bull" and "cow". The male Red Deer is a "hart", especially if more than five years old, and the female is a "hind", especially if three or more years old; both terms can also be used for any species of deer, and were widely so used in the past. 2] Terms for young deer vary similarly, with that of most being called a "fawn" and that of the larger species "calf"; young of the smallest kinds may be a kid. A group of deer of any kind is a "herd". The adjective of relation pertaining to deer is cervine; like the family name "Cervidae", this is from Latin: cervus, "deer".  Habitat Sambar in Bangalore Reindeer in Sweden White-tailed deer in Toronto, Canada Philippine deer in Luzon, Philippines
Deer are widely distributed, with indigenous representatives in all continents except Antarctica and Australia, though Africa has only one native species, the Red Deer, confined to the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of the continent. Deer live in a variety of biomes ranging from tundra to the tropical rainforest. While often associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets (for cover) and prairie and savanna (open space).
The majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, and savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may actually benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses, weeds, and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may also benefit deer. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to grow and thrive.
Small species of brocket deer and pudus of Central and South America, and muntjacs of Asia generally occupy dense forests and are less often seen in open spaces, with the possible exception of the Indian Muntjac. There are also several species of deer that are highly specialized, and live almost exclusively in mountains, grasslands, swamps, and "wet" savannas, or riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in both North America and Eurasia.
Examples include the caribou that live in Arctic tundra and taiga (boreal forests) and moose that inhabit taiga and adjacent areas. Huemul Deer (taruca and Chilean Huemul) of South America's Andes fill an ecological niche of the ibex or Wild Goat, with the fawns behaving more like goat kids. The highest concentration of large deer species in temperate North America lies in the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain regions between Alberta and British Columbia where all five North American deer species (White-tailed deer, Mule deer, Caribou, Elk, and Moose) can be found.
This region has several clusters of national parks including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park (Canada), Yoho National Park, and Kootenay National Park on the British Columbia side, and Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, and Glacier National Park (U. S. ) on the Alberta and Montana sides. Mountain slope habitats vary from moist coniferous/mixed forested habitats to dry subalpine/pine forests with alpine meadows higher up.
The foothills and river valleys between the mountain ranges provide a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands. The rare woodland caribou have the most restricted range living at higher altitudes in the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas of some of the mountain ranges. Elk and Mule Deer both migrate between the alpine meadows and lower coniferous forests and tend to be most common in this region. Elk also inhabit river valley bottomlands, which they share with White-tailed deer.
The White-tailed deer have recently expanded their range within the foothills and river valley bottoms of the Canadian Rockies owing to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests allowing more deciduous vegetation to grow up the mountain slopes. They also live in the aspen parklands north of Calgary and Edmonton, where they share habitat with the moose. The adjacent Great Plains grassland habitats are left to herds of Elk, American Bison, and pronghorn antelope.
Fallow buck in the Czech Republic The Eurasian Continent (including the Indian Subcontinent) boasts the most species of deer in the world, with most species being found in Asia. Europe, in comparison, has lower diversity in plant and animal species. However, many national parks and protected reserves in Europe do have populations of red deer, roe deer, and fallow deer. These species have long been associated with the continent of Europe, but also inhabit Asia Minor, the Caucasus Mountains, and Northwestern Iran. European" Fallow Deer historically lived over much of Europe during the Ice Ages, but afterwards became restricted primarily to the Anatolian Peninsula, in present-day Turkey. Present-day Fallow deer populations in Europe are a result of historic man-made introductions of this species first to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, then eventually to the rest of Europe. They were initially park animals that later escaped and reestablished themselves in the wild.
Historically, Europe's deer species shared their deciduous forest habitat with other herbivores such as the extinct tarpan (forest horse), extinct aurochs (forest ox), and the endangered wisent (European bison). Good places to see deer in Europe include the Scottish Highlands, the Austrian Alps, and the wetlands between Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic. Some fine National Parks include Donana National Park in Spain, the Veluwe in the Netherlands, the Ardennes in Belgium, and Bialowieza National Park of Poland.
Spain, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus Mountains still have virgin forest areas that are not only home to sizable deer populations but also for other animals that were once abundant such as the wisent, Eurasian lynx, Spanish lynx, wolves, and Brown bears. The highest concentration of large deer species in temperate Asia occurs in the mixed deciduous forests, mountain coniferous forests, and taiga bordering North Korea, Manchuria (Northeastern China), and the Ussuri Region (Russia). These are among some of the richest deciduous and coniferous forests in the world where one can find Siberian roe deer, sika deer, elk, nd moose. Asian caribou occupy the northern fringes of this region along the Sino-Russian border. Deer such as the sika deer, Thorold's deer, Central Asian red deer, and elk have historically been farmed for their antlers by Han Chinese, Turkic peoples, Tungusic peoples, Mongolians, and Koreans. Like the Sami people of Finland and Scandinavia, the Tungusic peoples, Mongolians, and Turkic peoples of Southern Siberia, Northern Mongolia, and the Ussuri Region have also taken to raising semi-domesticated herds of Asian Caribou.
The highest concentration of large deer species in the tropics occurs in Southern Asia in Northern India's Indo-Gangetic Plain Region and Nepal's Terai Region. These fertile plains consist of tropical seasonal moist deciduous, dry deciduous forests, and both dry and wet savannas that are home to chital, hog deer, barasingha, Indian sambar, and Indian muntjac. Grazing species such as the endangered barasingha and very common chital are gregarious and live in large herds. Indian sambar can be gregarious but are usually solitary or live in smaller herds. Hog deer are solitary and have lower densities than Indian muntjac.
Deer can be seen in several national parks in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka of which Kanha National Park, Dudhwa National Park, and Chitwan National Park are most famous. Sri Lanka's Wilpattu National Park and Yala National Park have large herds of Indian sambar and chital. The Indian sambar are more gregarious in Sri Lanka than other parts of their range and tend to form larger herds than elsewhere. The Chao Praya River Valley of Thailand was once primarily tropical seasonal moist deciduous forest and wet savanna that hosted populations of hog deer, the now-extinct Schomburgk's deer, the Eld's deer, Indian sambar, and Indian muntjac.
Both the hog deer and Eld's deer are rare, whereas Indian sambar and Indian muntjac thrive in protected national parks such as Khao Yai. Many of these South Asian and Southeast Asian deer species also share their habitat with various herbivores such as Asian elephants, various Asian rhinoceros species, various antelope species (such as nilgai, Four-horned antelope, blackbuck, and Indian gazelle in India), and wild oxen (such as wild Asian water buffalo, gaur, banteng, and kouprey). How different herbivores can survive together in a given area is each species have different food preferences, although there may be some overlap.
Australia has six introduced species of deer that have established sustainable wild populations from acclimatisation society releases in the 19th century. These are fallow deer, red deer, sambar, hog deer, rusa, and chital. Red deer introduced into New Zealand in 1851 from English and Scottish stock were domesticated in deer farms by the late 1960s and are common farm animals there now. Seven other species of deer were introduced into New Zealand but none are as widespread as red deer.   Biology Baby fawn's first steps
Deer weights generally range from 30 to 300 kilograms (70 to 700 lb), though the smallest species, the Northern Pudu, averages 10 kilograms (20 lb) and the largest, the moose, averages 431 kilograms (1,000 lb). They generally have lithe, compact bodies and long, powerful legs suited for rugged woodland terrain. Deer are also excellent jumpers and swimmers. Deer are ruminants, or cud-chewers, and have a four-chambered stomach. The teeth of deer are adapted to feeding on vegetation, and like other ruminants, they lack upper incisors, instead having a tough pad at the front of their upper jaw.
Some deer, such as those on the island of Rum, do consume meat when it is available.  The Chinese water deer, tufted deer, and muntjac have enlarged upper canine teeth forming sharp tusks, while other species often lack upper canines altogether. The cheek teeth of deer have crescent ridges of enamel, which enable them to grind a wide variety of vegetation.  The dental formula for deer is: Nearly all deer have a facial gland in front of each eye. The gland contains a strongly scented pheromone, used to mark its home range. Bucks of a wide range of species open these glands wide when angry or excited.
All deer have a liver without a gallbladder. Deer also have a tapetum lucidum which gives them sufficiently good night vision. Female Elk nursing young Nearly all cervids are so-called uniparental species: the fawns are cared for by the mother only. A doe generally has one or two fawns at a time (triplets, while not unknown, are uncommon). The gestation period is anywhere up to ten months for the European roe deer. Most fawns are born with their fur covered with white spots, though in many species they lose these spots by the end of their first winter.
In the first twenty minutes of a fawn's life, the fawn begins to take its first steps. Its mother licks it clean until it is almost free of scent, so predators will not find it. Its mother leaves often, and the fawn does not like to be left behind. Sometimes its mother must gently push it down with her foot.  The fawn stays hidden in the grass for one week until it is strong enough to walk with its mother. The fawn and its mother stay together for about one year. A male usually never sees his mother again, but females sometimes come back with their own fawns and form small herds.
Fawn Deer are selective feeders. They are usually browsers, and primarily feed on leaves. They have small, unspecialized stomachs by ruminant standards, and high nutrition requirements. Rather than attempt to digest vast quantities of low-grade, fibrous food as, for example, sheep and cattle do, deer select easily digestible shoots, young leaves, fresh grasses, soft twigs, fruit, fungi, and lichens.  Antlers With the exception of the Chinese Water Deer, which have tusks, all male deer have antlers. Sometimes a female will have a small stub.
The only female deer with antlers are reindeer (caribou). Antlers grow as highly vascular spongy tissue covered in a skin called velvet. Before the beginning of a species' mating season, the antlers calcify under the velvet and become hard bone. The velvet is then rubbed off leaving dead bone which forms the hard antlers. After the mating season, the pedicle and the antler base are separated by a layer of softer tissue, and the antler falls off. White-tailed deer One way that many hunters are able to track main paths that the deer travel on is because of their "rubs".
A rub is used to deposit scent from glands near the eye and forehead and physically mark territory. During the mating season, bucks use their antlers to fight one another for the opportunity to attract mates in a given herd. The two bucks circle each other, bend back their legs, lower their heads, and charge. Necropsy research on wild deer that were killed and eaten by wolves shows that deer with asymmetric antlers are weakened by genetic defects and are less likely to escape being caught by predators.
Each species has its own characteristic antler structure – for example white-tailed deer antlers include a series of tines sprouting upward from a forward-curving main beam, while fallow deer and moose antlers are palmate, with a broad central portion. Mule deer and black-tailed deer), species within the same genus as the white-tailed deer, instead have bifurcated (or branched) antlers—that is, the main beam splits into two, each of which may split into two more.  Young males of many deer, and the adults of some species, such as brocket deer and pudus, have antlers which are single spikes.
Cervocerus novorossiae  Colour This unreferenced section requires citations to ensure verifiability.  Piebald deer Piebald fawn Piebald doe A piebald deer is a deer with a brown and white spotting pattern which is not caused by parasites or diseases. They can appear to be almost entirely white. In addition to the non-standard coloration, other differences have been observed: bowing or Roman nose, overly arched spine (scoliosis), long tails, short legs, and underbites.  White deer Seneca County, New York maintains the largest herd of white deer.
White pigmented white-tailed deer began populating the deer population in the area now known as the Conservation Area of the former Seneca Army Depot. The U. S. Army gave the white deer protection while managing the normal colored deer through hunting. The white deer coloration is the result of a recessive gene. White fallow deer near Argonne National Labs in central Illinois, USA. There is a herd of white fallow deer located near Argonne National Laboratories in central Illinois.  White tail fawns are born a brown or tan color with a spotted white pattern.
Sometimes these fawns can be born with a grey appearance, making them seem dirty. The coats then become pure white in the middle of their second year, sometimes mistaken for albino deer. Albino whitetail deer appear to have pink skin with a pure white coat, and the irises are usually pink as well. There is no such thing as a partial albino, true albino deer have little or no melanin in their bodies. Their color is mainly white because it lacks any pigments, making the skin appear pink because the flowing blood can be seen throw the skin.
Their white coats make them especially vulnerable to predators.   Evolution The earliest fossil deer including Heteroprox date from the Oligocene of Europe, and resembled the modern muntjacs. Later species were often larger, with more impressive antlers. They rapidly spread to the other continents, even for a time occupying much of northern Africa, where they are now almost wholly absent. Some extinct deer had huge antlers, larger than those of any living species. Examples include Eucladoceros, and the giant deer Megaloceros, whose antlers stretched to 3. metres across. The "Syndyocera" was one of the first animals considered to be related to the deer, sharing similar features common with the deer, horse, giraffe, and antelope.
Fossil show it had a bony skull outgrowths that resembled non-deciduous antlers found in Northern America approximately 35 million years ago. Another animal also thought to be related to the deer is the world's oldest known antler-shedding deer known as "Dicrocerus elegans. " This animal's sediment deposits are found in European soil dating back to between 15-30 million years ago. 11]  Economic significance "The Stag Hunt of Frederick III, Elector of Saxony" by Lucas Cranach the Elder Nicholas Mavrogenes, Phanariote Prince of Wallachia, riding through Bucharest in a deer? drawn carriage (late 1780s) Deer have long had economic significance to humans. Deer meat, for which they are hunted and farmed, is called venison. Deer organ meat is called humble. See humble pie. The Sami of Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula of Russia and other nomadic peoples of northern Asia use reindeer for food, clothing, and transport.
The caribou in North America is not domesticated or herded as is the case of reindeer (the same species), reindeer are often found in colder regions in Europe, but is important as a quarry animal to the Inuit. Most commercial venison in the United States is imported from New Zealand. Deer were originally brought to New Zealand by European settlers, and the deer population rose rapidly. This caused great environmental damage and was controlled by hunting and poisoning until the concept of deer farming developed in the 1960s. Deer farming has advanced into a significant conomic activity in New Zealand with more than 3,000 farms running over 1 million deer in total. Deer products are exported to over 50 countries around the world, with New Zealand becoming well recognised as a source of quality venison and co-products. White-tailed deer hunted in Accomack, Virginia Automobile collisions with deer can impose a significant cost on the economy. In the U. S. , about 1. 5 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those accidents cause about 150 human deaths and $1. 1 billion in property damage annually.