The Deer Page
Sixty kinds of deer live in the world. They are the largest wild animals of North America. The largest deer is the North American moose. Some moose can grow 7 1/2 feet tall and weigh over 1800 pounds. The smallest deer is the pudu of western South America. The pudu is only about one foot high and weighs only 20 pounds.
Some deer such as the caribou and moose have large powerful bodies. Most deer look like small horses with thin legs. All deer have long, thin legs. Some deer can take long jumps up to 15 to 20 feet. Other deer can run up to 40 miles per hour.
The head of a deer is narrow. Deer have small noses and mouths. A deer has large eyes at the sides of its head.
The male deer is called a buck. In most species the male grows antlers from permanent knoblike bones on the deer's skull. The deer uses these antlers chiefly to fight for mates or for leadership of the herd. Deer who live in mild or cold climates loose their antlers each winter.
Deer live in may parts of the world. Some deer live in the hot deserts. Other live near the Arctic Circle. Some live in mild places and in places near swamps, woodlands.
Deer have a home range. Some deer travel from long distances. The caribou travels 1,000 miles each year. Deer that live the the mountains move to warmer places in the winter. They live on the edge of the forest were they can find shrubs for shelter.
Deer eat grass, leaves, bark, twigs, and tender sprouts of trees and other plants. They also eat moss and lichens including mushrooms and other types of fungi. Deer do no chew their food. They have a stomach with four sections. One section is used for storage for poorly chewed food. Later the food is returned to the mouth and chewed a second time. The food is then swallowed again. This time it goes to another part of the stomach.
Deer find a hiding spot to have their young. The young stays in the spot until it can walk well enough to follow its mother. This usually takes about 10 days. Fawns of the white-tailed deer weigh from 3 1/2 to 6 pounds at birth. The newborn moose calf weighs about 25 to 35 pounds. Most kinds of deer have only one or two young at a time. Deer live about 10 to 20 years in the wild.
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