Deer – graceful animal
Deer are generally slender and long-legged. Their most striking characteristic is the presence of antlers. The deer family includes about 45 species. The legs are long and slender, well-suited for fast running. Most species of deer have antlers. Usually only males have them, however, in Rangifer, the caribou, both sexes have antlers. Other species, such as the Chinese water deer and the tufted deer, have tusks. Deer are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and northern Africa. People have brought them to Australia, New Zealand, and other areas. Most deer live in small family groups, though the males generally spend some time alone. Female deer usually give birth to one or two young.
The smallest deer, the South American pudu, is about 30 centimeters tall at the shoulder. The largest deer, the moose, may be more than 2.1 meters tall at the shoulder.
Musk deer are so-named because the males of the species have a gland that produces a waxy substance called musk, which is used by males to attract females. They inhabit wet forests in the Himalayas, eastern Asia, and Siberia. Its hair is long and coarse, and varies in color from dark to golden brown. Unlike most other deer, musk deer have no antlers. Their upper canine teeth grow into narrow, pointed tusks. Males use these 6-7 centimeter teeth when fighting each other.
After a gestation period of 150 to 198 days, a female gives birth to one or two infants. The babies are born with spotted coats.
Musk deer feed on leaves, flowers, twigs, mosses, grasses, and lichen. Predators include the lynx, wolf, and fox.
Hunters often kill musk deer for their musk to use it in perfumes and medicines.
The wapiti is a North American deer that is often called American elk. It is the second largest deer after the moose with the weight of about 450 kilograms. Wapiti like open woodlands and mountain meadows. They have brown fur with a yellowish white patch on the rump. Males have large antlers that are shed and regrown each year.
Swamp deer is a large member of the deer family. These animals feed on grasses and aquatic plants, and their main predators are tigers and leopards. Most male deer grow and shed antlers annually. Swamp deer are found throughout Nepal and India.
Irish elk is perhaps the most well-known fossil species. It was well-suited for life in the open and able to run quickly for long distances.
Deer is a very ancient symbol and it is present in all historical traditions. It is always a fertile symbol of rebirth and renewal, strength and nobility, courage and purity, symbol of the human soul, but also a symbol of the warrior. The deer is associated with the Sun, sunrise, light, creation and spirituality. The antlers of deer symbolize the sun’s rays, fertility.
This animal can often be seen in heraldic images, where it means grace and moderation.