Friday, March 21, 2014

Creature Feature #154: Deer

The Deer are a large Family of ruminants, ranging in size from the diminutive pudu to the impressive moose. This is a Red Deer stag, a species widespread across Europe and introduced to New Zealand. Male deer, stags, grow antlers. These are originally covered in a spongy tissue known as velvet, but before the rutting season the bone beneath hardens and he will scrape the velvet clean. With these antlers he jousts with other males, attempting to secure as many hinds (female deer) as he can. This rutting process begins in late autumn and continues into early winter. The antlers are shed at the end of winter, so that a fresh pair can grow.

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