Are deer in danger

Red deer

What do red deer look like?

Red deer belong to the deer family and are so-called forehead weapon bearers. This dangerous-sounding name refers to the most typical characteristic of these harmless mammals: the huge antlers of the males, with which they intimidate their competitors and defend their territory during mating season.

The antlers can look quite different. In the Central European deer, it consists of two rods that grow from the frontal bone and from which usually up to three forward-facing ends branch off.

At the end of the antlers, several side rungs can branch off, so that a crown is created.

The older a deer is, the more branchy its antlers are. The deer carry around quite a load with their antlers: It weighs about six kilograms, in very old deer even up to 15 or 25 kilograms.

The name red deer comes from the fact that the fur of these animals is bright reddish brown in summer. In winter, however, they are gray-brown.

On the bottom they have a large white or yellowish spot under the tail, the so-called mirror.

The tail itself is colored dark above and white below.

Red deer are our largest mammals: They measure 1.6 to 2.5 meters from head to bottom, have a back height of 1 to 1.5 meters, the small tail is 12 to 15 centimeters long and they weigh between 90 and 350 kilograms .

Deer can be of different sizes depending on sex and habitat: the males are much larger than the females and have a long neck mane in autumn and winter.

In addition, the deer in Central and Eastern Europe are much larger than, for example, deer in Northern Europe or on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Where do red deer live?

Red deer are found in Europe, North America, northwest Africa and northern Asia. Because they were heavily hunted and their habitat - the great forests - are being destroyed more and more, they no longer live everywhere, but only in some regions. In some areas attempts have also been made to reintroduce red deer: for example in Finland, Eastern Europe and Morocco. They have also been released in other regions where they were not originally at home, such as Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

Red deer need large, extensive forests with clearings to be comfortable. But they also occur in mountain forests as well as in heather and moor areas. Red deer avoid humans.

What types of red deer are there?

There are about 23 different subspecies of the red deer that occur in different regions around the world. But they all belong to the red deer group. The largest subspecies is the North American elk.

Closely related to the red deer are the sika deer from Asia, the fallow deer with the white-spotted fur, which comes from the Mediterranean and Western Asia and was settled in Europe, and the American white-tailed deer, which was also settled in some areas of Europe.

How old do red deer get?

Red deer can live up to 20 years.


How do red deer live?

Deer only become active towards dusk in the evening. It used to be different: the deer were out during the day. Because they were heavily hunted by humans, they usually hide during the day. They only come out to eat at dusk.

Females and males usually live separately. The females live in packs with the young and are led by an old doe. The males either roam the woods as solitary animals or form small groups.

Anyone who knows where deer live in a wooded area can see them fairly easily because they keep using the same trails. Such paths are called alternation.

Not only are red deer good runners, they are also great at jumping and swimming. Enemies usually spot them from afar because they can hear, see and smell well.

Do not be surprised if you see deer without antlers: firstly, only the males of the red deer wear antlers, and secondly, the males shed their old antlers between February and April. With a lot of luck you can even find it in the forest.

The new antlers will have grown back by the end of August. It is initially covered by a skin called bast, which the deer gradually strip off by rubbing the antlers on tree trunks.

Friends and enemies of the red deer

Wolves and brown bears can be dangerous to the red deer, young animals can also fall victim to lynxes, foxes and golden eagles. In our country, deer hardly have any enemies because there are almost no large predators left.

How do red deer reproduce?

Deer mating or rutting season is in autumn, September and October.

Then it gets really loud: the males no longer move around in their groups, but around alone and let their loud, roaring calls be heard.

They want to say to the other deer: "This area is mine!" In addition, they attract the females with their calls.

This time means stress for the deer men: They hardly eat and often there are fights between two males. With their antlers pressed against each other, they test who is the stronger. The winner finally gathers a whole pack of hinds around him. The weaker deer remain without females.

After a month there is calm again, and almost eight months after mating, the young are born, usually one, very rarely two. Their fur is lightly spotted and they weigh eleven to fourteen kilograms. After just a few hours, they can follow their mother on shaky legs.

They are suckled in the first few months and usually stay with her until the next calf is born. Deer do not become adult and sexually mature until they are two or three years old.

They are fully grown at the age of four.

The female offspring usually remain in the pack of the mother, the male kittens leave the pack at the age of two and join other male deer.

How do red deer communicate?

When in danger, deer make barking, grunting or humming noises. During the rutting season, the males let out a loud roar that goes through the marrow and bone. The boys can bleat and squeak.


What do red deer eat?

Red deer are pure vegetarians. They feed on grasses, leaves from trees, herbs, the shoots of conifers, mushrooms, berries, fruits, acorns, lichens and also tree bark.

If there are too many deer in an area, this can become a problem: with their appetite for juicy young tree shoots, deer can destroy trees.