The deer is an animal that we often find in cartoons and children’s stories. Famous for carrying the sleigh of the mythical Santa Claus. However, not everyone knows that reindeers are divided into different breeds, taking different shapes and colors between them. Let’s explore together which are the most fascinating breeds of deer.
The species Axis is the only representative of the genus Axis. It is widespread in the wild, especially in its historical homeland, the Indian subcontinent. Its numbers are constantly increasing, so you can encounter deer in local forests with high probability.
Deer live in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand. It settles in the foothills of the Himalayas, in deciduous and tall forests, and avoids arid and desert territories. In the 20th century, the axis was artificially bred outside of Asia, where it took root and lives successfully to this day.
Today, it is found as an invasive species on the Croatian island of Rab, Texas and Hawaii in the United States, Armenia, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, Brazil, and in the Ukrainian Askania Nova reserve. In Australia, the axis became the first imported and most beautiful deer around. It is currently bred in the eastern part of the country.
2. Pudu Puda
The Pudu Puda is a species of deer that lives in South America, on the slopes of the Andes Mountains.
It is the smallest species of deer in the world – along with the northern pudu, to which it is closely related. The name comes from the way the Mapuche Indians referred to the small deer: pudu.
With an average weight of 12 kg and a maximum height at withers of 38 cm, the small pudu puda lives by hiding in the thick undergrowth – especially in bamboo groves – to escape predators. These cute “pandas” made it to our list of most beautiful deer and you can check out their picture below.
It feeds by standing up on its hind legs to reach the buds of the juiciest plants, and in this way, it can survive for a long time even without drinking water.
3. Red deer
Imposing, proud and regal, the red deer, compared to the other Italian deer, roe deer and fallow deer, is the one that reaches the largest size. It has a robust and agile body, selected to move over wooded and rough terrain, and long, muscular limbs that rest on only two nails, a common characteristic of artiodactyls.
The snout is long and pointed, the eyes are large and obvious, and the teeth specialized for vegetarian eating. Smell and hearing are particularly developed for their feeding needs.
The powerful and regal appearance of the male is highlighted by a thick and long undergrowth mane, called dewlap, and the majestic and branched antler – reasons why it is called noble deer.
The males, weighing over 200 kg, have a strong development of the front part of the body that between head, neck and antler gives a very imposing appearance. The adult females have a weight of little more than 100 kg and doesn’t have antlers.
The resistant mantle of which they are both endowed has an excellent function of camouflage and thermal insulation. It is renewed in the consistency and in the color with two seasonal molts.
In the winter period, it is thick and dark gray, while in summer it becomes reddish brown, hence the name red deer and it’s no surprise they are considered by many to be THE most beautiful deer breed in nature.
The offspring have a typical white knob on back and sides that, among the vegetation, camouflage them from the eyes of predators.
4. Siberian deer
Unlike other deer, Siberian males do not have antlers. Their body is medium-sized -around one meter in height – and they have powerful legs for jumping that helps them from sinking into the snow during winter.
It is herbivorous and feeds on lichen, leaves, stalks, moss, bark and mushrooms. This deer breed is quite solitary – it stays with others only during the time it breeds. Most importantly, Siberian deers are most active at dawn and dusk.
Its distribution goes to the northeast of the mountainous areas of Asia. The breed is most common in Taiga, south of Siberia, but is also found in Mongolia, China, Manchuria and the Korean peninsula. Sakhalin Island has an endemic subspecies.
It inhabits coniferous forests, full of shrubs and rocks and shrub-covered slopes. It prefers high altitudes and usually lives at altitudes of 2500 m above sea level.
5. White-tailed Deer
Its coloration varies depending on the area and season of the year. In tropical areas and during the period from spring to summer, it has yellowish-reddish tones while in cold places, as well as in winter, they are grayish-brown.
Sexual dimorphism can be seen not only in the antlers, which measure from 8 to 64 cm, but also in the body size, since males weigh between 60 and 160 kilograms while females weigh between 35 and 90 kilograms.
The antlers are renewed annually during the winter after the mating season.
Their organization is made up of three forms: the female with her offspring, groups of juvenile males and solitary males during the rutting season.
Deers are one of the most beautiful and majestic animals found in the wild. They have a unique appearance and spotting them in the wild is a treat to the eyes.