Deer are ruminant mammals which are able to get nutrient from plant-based food such as grass and leaves. They form a family Cervidae. They can be found around the world. They are native to all continents except for Australia and Antarctica. There are about 100 types of their species.
All male species have antlers, except for the Chinese water deer. Antlers grow from boney supporting structures called pedicels. They are covered in “velvet,” which is rich in nerves and blood vessels. When the antlers are fully grown, the velvet dies and the deer will rub it off against a tree or other vegetation.
They live in a variety of biomes, ranging from tundra to the tropical rainforest. While often in forests, many species live in areas between forests and thickets (for cover) and open space. The majority of large species inhabit the temperate mixed forest, tropical seasonal or dry forest, and open space habitats around the world.
Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may actually benefit deer populations and allowing the types of grasses, weeds, and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may also benefit from them. However, the adequate forest still provided for populations to grow and thrive.
These are herbivores; they only eat vegetation. For the most part, their diet consists of grass, small shrubs and leaves, though they will forage in trash bins and in gardens if they cannot find the vegetation they need elsewhere.
Though not common, some deer are monogamous. In temperate areas, they breed during late autumn or early winter. Those who live in lower latitudes breed from late spring into early summer. They carry their young for a gestation period of 180 to 240 days.
Usually, the larger the deer, the longer the mother carries it in her womb. They usually only have one to three young at a time and these young are called fawns. Some of the large babies are also called calves.
In the winter months, when less food is available, deer will become less active. By slowing down, they can get by eating only about one-third of the food they normally eat. They will also hang out in the woods more to escape the cold winds.
Deer are born with four baby teeth and develop baby incisors and premolars in their first months. Their adult teeth come in and replace the baby teeth when they are about 18 months old. You can guess the age of deer by looking at the type of teeth they have and by how worn these teeth are. Each year, molars loose about one millimeter of height.
The life expectancy of deer is 20 years.