Deer are known by their Magnificent antlers and polished, elegant moves. Deer, antelopes and gazelles are of the same family and are capable of warding off the danger and protecting themselves. Their skin along with excellent smell, sight and hearing helps to protect them from the Predators. With little sign of the enemy approaching, they start to jump away from the vicinity of the enemy with immense speed. From the 47 species, most of them are land creatures, except the reindeer living in the Arctic. Dry sandy deserts and open vast grasslands are the home to antelopes and gazelles.
They are found in Scandinavia, Siberia and North American. In other members of the deer family, only the males have antlers whereas in reindeers both male and female have antlers.
Horns and Antlers
These animals have horn on their heads, which grow till they are alive. They are made of bone core covered with keratin (nails are made of it). Sometimes its twisted in the shape of corkscrew. The deer shred off the antlers and grow them each year.
AntelopesThey are closely related to cattle and goats and are in 100 different species. The eland being the largest, and is found in grasslands of east and South Africa. They can stay without water for long as they are herbivorous and hence the water required is given by the plants. The life span is 15 years. The smallest is the royal antelope.
The group in which they live is called the herd. The fight between the male deer is either for females or territory. Roaring, locking antlers is what red deer males do and attempt to throw the opponent to ground, this is called as rutting. The large and strong males then defend the territory and the herd.
Waterbuck are large grey-brown antelope, with a distinctive white ring around the bum. They are associated with water and prefer areas with reed beds.
A young / baby of an antelope jackrabbit is called a ‘bunny’. The females are called ‘doe‘ and males ‘buck‘.
An antelope jackrabbit group is called a ‘warren’.
A huge ice Age deer with antlers spanning 10 feet (3.5 meters) has been traced to its closest living relative. Scientists at University College London studied DNA and skeletals remains of the extinct giant deer or Irish elk, to construct it’s family tree.
Deer have hollow strands of hair that help them remain insulated from extremes of temperature and also prevent them from drowning.
The gazelles share a symbiotic relationship with the Ostrich.
African gazelles are named after the explorer Joseph Thompson.
Male gazelles are sometimes called as “tommies”.
The only antelope extinct is the South African blue buck around 1800.
Royal antelope calves are so small; they can fit into an average persons hand.
Male Impala antelopes tongue flash to attract females. The term ‘antelope’ is from the Old French-antelop and is from Byzantine Greek word antholops.
Deer can hear higher frequencies of sound than humans.
The blue duiker, the smallest antelope in Africa is called so as it has a Blue tinge to his coat. They have small, simple conical horns, sometimes absent in the female.
The two diseases the white tailed deer carries are Blue Tongue and chronic wasting disease (CWD).
The best way to count the age of the deer is by its teeth.
Buttons are the stubs of antlers that grow on a adult stag’s head, these occur when the antlers are about to grow.
Blesbok and bontebok the two different breeds of antelopes are not kept in the farms as they interbreed.