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17 Fun & Interesting Deer Facts You Need to Know

Deer are some of the most interesting mammals you’ll find on Earth. Known almost everywhere in the world, reindeer are not the only kind of deer – but there’s an entire list of different species to know. There are more than 40 different species of deer in the world.

The red deer found in Scotland to the white-tailed deer you will find throughout North and Central America.

  • Did you know that most deer species shed and regrow their antlers once a year? 
  • Did you know that there is a special species of deer that has fangs instead of antlers like most other deer?

As it turns out, there are a lot of interesting things that you might not have known about the world’s deer species.

Deer are defined by their antlers and hooves, which share characteristics that make a deer’s footprint stand out as such no matter where you might see one!

Some species of deer are commonly found, such as the white-tailed deer, but other types are considered threatened, near-threatened or rare.

Here are 17 fun & interesting deer facts you need to know.

List of the 17 fun & interesting deer facts

1. The water deer has fangs instead of antlers, like most other deer species.

The water deer is one of the few varieties of deer without antlers for protection.

This rare type of deer prefers to live in or near wetland areas, and can only be found in parts of China and Korea where conditions are ideal for it.

The water deer is a smaller deer species that have adapted over time to have fangs instead of antlers. Water deer use their fangs a lot like other types of deer use their antlers.

When in combat, the water deer relies on its fangs to repel its opponent.

The water deer is considered rare, and one of the world’s many different deer species listed as vulnerable.

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2. The moose is one of the world’s largest deer species.

Moose

The moose is a type of deer found throughout North America and parts of the United States. Officially,  it is one of the largest types of modern deer species – and it’s the one that most people can name.

A moose can grow up to 6.5 feet high, and weigh as much as 1, 800 pounds.

That’s huge, especially when it’s compared to the white-tailed deer, the smallest deer species found predominantly in North and Central America.

Even though moose numbers are high, they are not as plentiful in nature as they used to be thanks to decades of deforestation and hunting.

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3. Male deer are called bucks.

Male deer are called bucks, while female deer are referred to as does. Smaller deer are not called kittens or puppies, but fawns instead – the same term used for horses.

A collection of deer together are called a herd.

Most of the world’s deer species don’t go about life alone, but cluster together in small to moderate herds.

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4. There are more than 40 different types of deer species in the world today.

The term deer describes a number of mammal species with a combination of hooves and antlers. While there’s more to what makes a deer, that is the most basic definition.

Deer are a very diverse mammal species, and more than 40 different types exist.

The white-tailed deer, the red deer, and the moose are all some species of deer that you might find spread throughout the world’s ecosystems.

Some of the world’s deer are considered to be endangered. Hunting and habitat loss have contributed to the problem.

This means that many of the world’s deer species are on the world’s list of protected animals as a result.

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5. Deer have a very large range in nature.

When found in their natural habitat, deer have a very large range estimated to around one square mile. Deer stick together in packs, and this approximate range is true for most of the deer species on Earth.

The home range is the stretch where deer will spend most of their lives: foraging and eating are generally done on this home stretch area.

Rarely, some deer varieties can expand their range up to three times more than this.

See Related: List of Most Endangered Deer Species

6. Deer are called ‘deer’ thanks to certain special characteristics.

Deer are classified as deer thanks to specific characteristics that only these approximately 40 different species in the world share.

One of the common characteristics of deer species is the antlers, to which only the water deer is the exception – at least as far as scientists can establish today!

The other important characteristic of deer species is the shape of their feet. Deer feet contain two large and small hooves on each foot.

If you have a closer look at the footprints of a deer, you can clearly see what about their prints make them unique.

The shape of their feet allows for deer to have a superior grip in their own habitats. Whether they are found in snow or in wetlands, a deer’s feet are perfectly adapted to survive it.

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7. Deer have an average gestation period of 222 days.

Feeding Fawn Deer

Deer are mammals with an average gestation period of 222 days.

Fawns are raised by the female deer for the first short section of their lives, and the male deer has no influence on this period.

A female deer might have up to 2 or 3 deer at any one point to raise. After this, the fawns will grow up into adults and become part of the herd.

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8. Deer can jump – and pretty high, too.

Deer are mobile, and this is what makes them ideal to live in several of the world’s ecosystems from snowy mountain ranges to wetlands.

It’s not just their special hooves that contribute to this, but also their ability to jump.

The average deer can jump up to 10 feet high, and also have the ability to leap further forward at high speeds.

The ability to leap and jump is used to get around but also used to escape from their natural predators.

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9. Male deer shed their antlers once a year.

An Adult Deer With Huge Antlers

Antlers are one of the defining characteristics of the deer species: the rare water deer is the only exception to this and has fangs.

Male deer shed their antlers once a year, and then spend the rest of the year regrowing their antlers for the following cycle.

Created from the same substances that strengthen our nails, antlers are used for defense and also, sometimes, as tools.

Most of the antlers you see for sale have been harvested sustainably.

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10. Deer can be very fast.

Deer aren’t just good at jumping, but also have speed on their side. Some deer species can achieve speeds of up to 30 miles per hour over a short distance.

This short sprint is enough to get them away from most of their predators in nature.

Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the world’s deer species is habitat loss and hunting. Ecological damage and human interference are more difficult to outrun.

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11. The white-tailed deer is the most common deer species.

The white-tailed deer is the most common type of deer species in the world.

White-tailed deer are found throughout Central and North America, though hunting has drastically cut the total number that is found in nature.

It’s also one of the smallest deer species in North America.

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12. Scotland has a deer species of its own.

Deer adapt well to ecosystems like mountains and wetland, which means that species of deer can be found on almost every continent on the planet.

Even Scotland has its own native type of deer.

The red deer is found mostly in Scotland, and is one of its largest mammals found in nature.

Why is it called a red deer?

Instead of the brownish shades that characterize most deer species, the Scottish deer is a brilliant shade of red.

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13. The doe takes the primary care role until fawns are ready for adulthood.

Small Spotted Deer

There are many mammal species on the planet where the caring role is taken on by the male of the species, or shared by both of the parents. Deer are an exception to this common natural rule.

The male deer takes no role in the care of fawns.

The doe does all the work until the fawns are ready for their adulthood.

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14. Deer are harmless to humans, but death-by-deer is more likely than being killed by a shark.

Deer are vegetarian, and will not go out of their way to cause any harm to humans – but let’s all remember that deer are still wild animals, and accidents can happen if you venture into their natural habitat alone.

The official odds of death by deer is 1 in 1.4 million.

While deer don’t mean us any harm, you are more likely to be harmed by a deer than you are to be killed by a shark. That’s just the statistics of nature.

According to the CDC, deer are responsible for an estimated 120 deaths per year. Even more, people are injured.

Unfortunate accidents happen: deer are still wild animals and should always be handled with the necessary caution.

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15. A rare type of Vietnamese was rediscovered in 2019.

Long thought to be extinct, the silver-back chevrotain was rediscovered in Southern Vietnam in 2019.

This rare type of deer is small and native to the area, but was though to be completely extinct for several decades until its recent discovery.

Protective efforts aim to preserve the silver-back chevrotain for future generations by increasing the numbers.

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16. Deer are vegetarian.

Spotted Deer Eating

Deer are completely vegetarian, and one of nature’s most eco-friendly creatures.

Deer themselves leave almost no carbon footprint on the environment in their natural habitat – and their vegetarian nature makes them ideal for the parts of the world where they occur.

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17. Deer populations of the world are on the decline.

The world contains more than 40 different deer species, but many of these types are considered under threat and officially on the world’s list of threatened animal species.

Deforestation, habitat loss, and hunting are some of the worst culprits that reduce deer population numbers of the world.

Deer populations unfortunately continue to decline.

While species like the white-tailed deer and moose are common, ones like the chevrotain are very rare – and might disappear completely if sustainable efforts are not supported.

Current deer populations were measured at less than 4 million in 2020. If the decline continues, many of the species we know today might be completely lost.

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