antler shed lying on forest floor

Deer Antlers | The Growth And Shedding Process

Have you ever been walking through the woods and found the antler of a deer? It’s like finding hidden treasure.

But, how did it get there?

Every year, whitetail deer, mule deer, elk and various other hoofed mammals shed their antlers.

two bucks fighting with antlers in snow

During the rut, bucks will fight using their antlers, in an effort to establish dominance and the right to breed the does.

The dropping of the antlers may take place within 24 to 48 hours, but the entire shedding process may take as long as two to three weeks before the antlers actually fall off. Then, throughout the summer, new antlers will regenerate.

The shedding and regrowth of a deer’s antlers is an amazing process.

Read on and let’s take a deeper look into deer antlers, how they are used, and the shedding process in general…

What are those antlers used for anyway?

Male deer, or “bucks,” use their antlers as a weapon, whether to compete for a mate, or to defend themselves. They also use their antlers to display their physiological fitness and to show off their fertility and strength.

Bucks will violently clash their sets of antlers during the breeding season, or “the rut,” to display their strength and dominance. This can sometimes lead to broken antlers, bloody deer, and sometimes even death.

Because of the competitiveness that takes place during this time, bucks with the largest set of antlers (referred to as a “rack) often position themselves to be in the right place at the right time, as a female deer (doe) comes into estrous and becomes ready to be bred.

Now let’s take a look at the the specifics of the growth of this part of a deer’s anatomy.

Antler growth

A whitetail buck’s antlers during the growth phase are covered in velvet, growing up to 2 cm per day, making them the fastest growing tissue of any mammal on earth!

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Increasing levels of testosterone, in addition to decreasing daylight hours, are among the major factors contributing to antler growth during the summer months.

Considered as the most extravagant display of a male deer’s sexual traits, these antlers grow much faster than any other bones among mammals.

A deer’s antlers grow from an attachment section on its skull known as a pedicle. Antler growth starts at the tip and initially forms as a cartilage, which is later replaced by a bone-like tissue that is similar to a honeycomb.

During the growth period, the pedicle is covered with a highly vascular skin, called “velvet,” that supplies nutrients and oxygen to the developing bones.

During summer, deer antlers grow rapidly within two to four months and – according to Peter Yang, PhD, associate professor of orthopedics at Stanford University School of Medicine, they can grow up to 2 cm per day. During this process, the antlers eventually mineralize and harden.

But then, once peak levels of testosterone are reached, a deceleration of the growth rate of a buck’s antlers occurs.

During this period of peaking testosterone, the veins and arteries surrounding the velvet cut blood flow and supply of nutrients to the antlers.



Because of lack of blood and nutrients, the velvet that encases the antlers wastes away and falls off when the deer rub their antlers on trees. This is often referred to as the shedding of velvet.

Because of their rapid growth rate, antlers may be a disadvantage because there is an enormous need for good nutrition in order for a buck to regrow them every year. But, this can also signify a buck’s metabolic efficiency and superior food gathering capability.

So, now you know how they grow, but why do deer antlers eventually fall off?



WHY do deer shed their antlers?

So, we’ve explored how the antlers grow, but why do deer shed them later on?

In exactly the opposite way that bucks grow their antlers, the shedding of those same antlers among bucks is triggered by decreasing testosterone following the rut, as well as increasing minutes of daylight.

In the wild, injuries and nutrition also play a huge part in the antler shedding process. For example, a healthier buck loses its antlers at a much later period compared to a weaker deer.



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The pedicle, or mounting point, where these antlers are attached and grow from, is also the location where the antlers break off.

Just as rising testosterone levels triggered antler growth at the pedicle, a drop in testosterone levels will cause the pedicle to weaken and eventually, the antlers will fall off.

pre and post deer velvet comparison

This is the same buck before and after shedding its velvet. Left photo: Late July. Right photo: late August.

WHEN do deer shed their antlers?

The particular time a buck will discard its antlers may be largely determined by its individual shedding cycle. This is separate from other bucks’ antler cycles and is possibly centered on its birth date.

In Mississippi, a study conducted among individual penned bucks found that they shed their racks about the same week every year. Other research studies on captive deer discovered that bucks often shed both horns three days apart of each other.


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Most bucks will retain their antlers through the winter and into the early Spring and then start shedding their racks anywhere between January and April. Some bucks may shed their antlers earlier or later depending on the maturity of the deer, its physical condition, and the habitat where they live.

Photoperiodism is the physiological response of different organisms to the length of night or day. This happens both in plants and animals. Among bucks, photoperiods occur alongside the testosterone to grow the antlers and define when they will fall off.

Testosterone levels increase during the development and the ensuing shedding of the antler velvet. As the seasons start to change, the biological reaction of antler shedding is activated.

buck shedding velvet over mineral block

When testosterone levels peak, the mineralized antlers have hardened and bucks shed their velvet that had covered the antlers.

Genes also help define early or late growth and shedding of antlers, mainly due to family history which may have an influence on the overall health of the deer.

In general, a deer will lose its antlers during the same time period each year, except for other factors such as health conditions or injuries.

Emotional factors can also play a part in the deer antler shedding process. Just like humans, deer experience social anxiety which may have a negative impact on their health condition and lead to earlier shedding.


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Other factors such as weather, altitude, and food availability may also influence when antler shedding takes place.

Some scientists believe that the shedding process is necessary in order for bucks to replace broken or damaged antlers. If a deer has to live with a broken beam or cracked tines his entire life, he will not have the necessary tool to fight off rivals or have the stance to attract does. New racks can grow anywhere from ten to thirty inches bigger every year and this allows bucks to also keep up with their increasing girth and weight as they mature.

How long does it take a deer to shed its antlers?

The duration of the shedding process all depends on how fast a buck decreases its testosterone levels. In most cases, this may happen in less than two to three days.

buck standing in snow with one antler

Individual bucks will typically shed their antlers at the same general time each year.

Although the antlers may appear solidly fixed, they may start to loosen up rapidly as the mating season progresses and natural physiological cycles happen.

After a while, an abrupt jerking actions or a sudden scare from nearby predator can cause enough force to cause the antlers to fall off. The muscle is no longer tough enough to support the weight of the rack, and as a result, the antlers simply fall off.

Early Shedding

As the connecting tissue withers and shrinks, the antlers become loose and fall off. In areas with an early mating season, testosterone levels of bucks will decrease earlier, causing some bucks to cast their antlers off at an earlier time than usual. A harsh winter with a tons of snow can also cause stressed deer to shed racks earlier.

Compared to younger bucks, many older bucks shed antlers earlier. After the mating season, the decreased levels of testosterone cause the formation of an abscission layer between the pedicles and antlers.

Individual deer also have unique shedding patterns. It is also worth knowing that some equatorial deer never shed their antlers regardless of the condition.

Late Shedding

In general, bucks in peak physical condition will hang on to their racks much longer than weaker bucks. Their prime health allows them to have stronger tissue and maintain a better physical condition causing a higher than normal antler to head stability.

Late shedding may also be caused by several other factors. Changing deer populations in a specific location may play a large part in later shedding. Low population indicates antler shedding may not reach its peak until late March or April.

First year bucks that reach the right rearing weight during their first winter will experience the estrous cycle, the recurring biological changes that are produced by reproductive hormones. This will keep the testosterone level of a deer higher for a longer period of time, which may lengthen the amount of time a buck will keep its antlers.



Other Facts About Antler Shedding

In the past, people believed that deer look for a more secluded area to shed their antlers, away from does and rival bucks to avoid public display of their loss of virility.

But, researchers debunk that idea saying that bucks are probably oblivious of when and where they will lose their antlers, although some may follow a regular pattern depending on the conditions.

Some deer will drop both antlers, if undisturbed, almost on top of each other each year. However, some bucks will drop their racks anywhere from a hundred to four hundred yards apart from each other.

In Conclusion

The process of deer antler growth as well as the shedding process is truly an amazing occurrence. So, next time you come across a mule deer, whitetail or other type of deer antler in the woods, remember, it went through a lot just to be there!

backpack hunter with rifle

10 Essentials For Backpack Hunting | What You’ll Need

A backpack hunt can be a great way to get in touch with nature and turn a hunting trip into an explorative adventure. However, you need to bring the right gear for a hunt like this to have a comfortable and successful time.

Below are 10 pieces of gear that you absolutely need to have on your next backpack hunt.

  1. Backpack
  2. Rifle and Scope
  3. Wearables
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Hiking Poles
  6. Knife
  7. Sleeping Gear
  8. Food and Water
  9. Heat Source
  10. Game Bags

1. The Right Backpack For The Hunt

This seems like an obvious choice but choosing the right backpack is essential. It’s still important to address, though, because nothing is going to ruin your hunt like a backpack that’s uncomfortable or difficult to wear once it’s full.

Needless to say, not just any backpack will do. There are a few main things you want out of a backpack.

First, it should offer enough support and room that you aren’t struggling too much even after you’ve filled your pack.

hunting backpack and rifle

Be sure your backpack is comfortable and durable enough to withstand the rigors of your hunting trip.

Additionally, it needs to be durable. If you’re halfway through a backpack hunt only for one of the straps to break, that’s going to make the rest of the hunt much more difficult.

Many hunters find that frame packs help them carry everything that they need without wearing them down too much.

Keep in mind that a smaller pack, like a pistol range backpack is not necessarily what you will be needing. Since you are going to be hunting wild game, don’t forget to consider that if your hunt is successful, you’ll be carrying your game in addition to what you brought with you.

2. Your Rifle and Scope

If you’re hunting with a rifle, it goes without saying that you need to bring that rifle with you. But, what’s important is that you remember to bring the accessories that go with that rifle as well.

One piece of equipment that you’ll want to invest in regarding your rifle is a scope. The main reason you’ll want to do this is that it helps enhance your vision on the field.

hand holding rifle and scope

Using a scope on your hunting rifle, as opposed to just iron sights will increase your chances of success on your hunt. If you’re predator hunting, you might want a night vision or thermal scope.

You can get a much clearer picture of what’s happening when you take a shot rather than trying to squint and rely fully on your natural eyesight.

When it comes to scopes, though, you have a lot of options. This can make it a little intimidating to try and find something that works for you and fits your gun. Luckily, there are plenty of resources like OutdoorBest.com that will help you with taking these in and finding the best scope for your rifle. (Just be sure it’s mounted properly and sighted in!)

Also, if you’re going to be shooting at long range, be sure you have put in the work at long distances, so that you can make the proper shot when it counts.

*Note: If you are a bow hunter, in addition to your bow, be sure to pack accessories such as broadheads, arrows, an extra release, etc.

3. The Right Wearables

When you’re going on a backpack hunt, it isn’t all about what you carry. In addition, you also have to think about what you’re going to wear.

First, make sure you have the warm hunting clothes you depend on during the season. This includes gear like insulated pants and a parka if necessary.

However, you’re also going to want to be prepared for inclement weather which means rain gear goes in your bag as well. The last thing you want is to be caught in the rain only for you and your gear to get soaked through.

It’s a good idea to invest in waterproof and water-resistant gear rather than just throwing a flimsy rain poncho into your bag. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra pair of shirts and paints just in case.

You also need to invest in a good pair of boots. These will help keep your feet safe and dry as well as comfortable. While your boots shouldn’t be old, it’s a good idea to wear a pair that’s already “broken in.” There’s a lot of public hunting land out there to be explored, and you don’t want to have to accommodate for blistered feet while you’re hiking your way through it.




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4. First Aid Kit… A Backpack Hunting Must

This is an important piece of gear to remember. Anytime you’re going on any type of outdoor excursion, no matter how much risk is involved, you’re going to want to keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand. This will allow you to take care of anything like a scrape from a fall or take urgent methods to help get a more seriously injured party member to help.

There are two parts to making sure your kit is as useful as possible.

First, you need to have the right supplies. A well-stocked kit has more than just a few spare bandages and antibacterial wipes. It should be much more comprehensive including items like non-latex gloves, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tweezers, and more.

The Red Cross has a handy checklist of what should go in your kit. You should go back through this checklist before every outing.

Secondly, those supplies are only so helpful without the knowledge to use them. It’s a good idea to study up and make sure you have a first aid guide in your kit to help you out.



5. Hiking Poles

Hiking poles – also referred to as trekking poles – are a must for a backpack hunt. This is because there is a lot of hiking involved in backpack hunting and you want to be as smart and safe as possible.

Hiking poles can help take some of the pressure and impact of steep hiking off of your legs and knees. These poles are also praised for keeping your hands raised rather than at your sides which is better for circulation. This improves your stamina.

man holding hiking poles

Hiking poles are a must on a backpack hunt, as they will help you maintain good balance and take pressure off your legs and knees.

While there are a number of other benefits to go on about, another one of the biggest things that hikers often call on their hiking poles for is balance and anchoring in tough conditions. This is particularly useful in backpack hunting since you’re carrying a large pack that could throw your center of gravity off, especially when you’re carrying large game back.

6. A Knife

A knife is a must have on a backpack hunting trip. While there is some debate over whether a fixed blade or folding blade is the best choice, there’s no debate that having a knife on hand can be a lifesaver.

Of course, a knife comes in handy for standard tasks like field dressing your game, but knives are one of the most versatile tools to keep in your pack and can help with anything from first aid to preparing your nightly meal.

backpack hunting knife

Whether you will be dressing wild game or just needing an aid for preparing food and getting camp ready, a knife is an invaluable tool on any backpack hunting trip.

Because your knife is so important, it’s a good idea to keep a sharpener handy too. This way you don’t end up having to struggle with a dull knife. There are plenty of handheld models, so you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of storage space by taking it along.



7. Gear for Sleeping

backpack hunters

Travel as light as possible while still bringing what you will need to sleep on and in.

Without a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent, your hunting trip will probably be pretty short-lived. If you’re going backpack hunting and plan on staying a while away from hotels and homes, you’re going to need to be just as ready to camp as you are to hunt.

Also, be sure to take clothes to sleep in that are appropriate for the weather. A hat and warm socks will help you stay warm in a tent when the temperatures drop.

While you’re choosing your camping gear, remember that the general rule of thumb that you’ll want to follow is to travel light. After all, whatever you want to bring will be on your back most of the time. That’s why it’s a good reason to lean towards lighter, simpler tents rather than an excessively expansive or luxurious tent.

8. Food and Water

Once you have your shelter accounted for, you’re going to need to consider your other basic needs: food and water.

First, let’s look at water. This is one of the most important things you put in your bag because your body can’t operate in top condition without it.

It’s crucial to keep plenty of water on hand because you aren’t guaranteed to find a fresh, clean water supply while on your trip. It’s also a good idea to keep a way to purify water on hand. Iodine tablets or small, handheld water purifiers are popular among campers and hikers.

As for food, you have a lot of different options as to what you can bring to eat. You can rely on all of your campfire favorites including everything from made-for-camping freeze dried meals to your favorite coffee, as well as non-perishable snacks like trail mix and granola bars. As you learn your way around backpack hunting, you can get creative and find out what unique campsite meals you love.

9. A Source of Heat

Whether you’re cooking or just staying warm at the end of the night, you’re going to need a way to get a fire started on your campsite.

Matches and a lighter are good to keep handy but it’s also a good idea to have a fire starter kit on hand. This way, you won’t have to struggle trying to get started from scratch without help.

When on a backpack hunt, the campfire is a critical piece, so don’t forget to keep a fire starter kit on hand just in case.

Don’t forget that you have to make sure any campfire you set has to be put out safely before you pack up for the night. It can go a long way to study up on or even keep a copy of the USDA Forest Service steps to extinguishing a campfire.

10. Game Bags

When you’re going to be carrying game long distances, you need a reliable way to do so. Your best bet here is to invest in game bags to carry your game in after you field dress it. This will help you make sure that it makes its way from the spot you took it down to your dinner table back at home.

Backpack hunting can be a unique and rewarding experience but you need to be well-prepared. So whether you’re after elk, mule deer or other big game, having basic essentials like these, you can be more prepared for what is hopefully a successful backpack hunt!

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various deer antlers

Types of Deer and How To Tell The Difference

You’re driving down the road when you see a deer in headlights… But, what kind of deer is it? After all, there’s more to deer than just antlers.

Otherwise known as Cervidae, the deer family is pretty broad. In fact, there are 43 species of deer.

But with members ranging from whitetail, elk, reindeer, red deer, and every dear deer in-between, how are you supposed to tell the difference?

Let’s explore the fundamental differences between 9 of the types of deer you’re likely to either encounter or hear about.

1. Whitetail Deer

whitetail buck in velvet

The whitetail is one of the most sought after deer by hunters in North America.

This medium-sized mammal is native to the Americas, weighing in at anywhere from under 100 lbs to over 300 lbs.

Doe (female deer) can weigh anywhere between under 100 lbs to 200 lbs.

White-tailed deer can sometimes be challenging to identify at first glance, as their coats change color seasonally. They can be found with reddish-brown coats under the summer sun, trading these in for more grayish-brown substitutes as winter closes in.

The white-tailed deer, usually referred to simply as the whitetail, earned its name thanks to the prominent white marking under its tail. (If a whitetail deer has piebaldism, it can lead to some unique and stunning markings.)

While the whitetail’s tail is primarily used to warn fellow deer when danger is near, this white marking also helps explorers and hunters distinguish the whitetail from other deer.


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This particular deer is also unique in terms of body language. Whitetails are known to showcase various postures, including the “ear drop” to send other deer away, the “hard look” to show anger, the “antler threat” to display dominance, and the fighting stance to prepare for battle, so to speak.

During the breeding season, or “rut,” bucks (males) can often be found making violent antler contact, testing each other’s strength for the right to breed receptive does. This battle normally ends when one deer is too tired to continue but can also end in the death of one or both bucks.

Sometimes when fighting, bucks can get their antlers entangled with each other, unable to break apart. In these instances, bucks can even die if they cannot get separated.

Whitetail deer are a highly sought after game animal by rifle hunters as well as bowhunters.

2. Blacktail Deer

blacktail bucks in field

Blacktail deer have distinctive black tail with a white patch underneath.

Normally found across the hills of Central California and the mountainous region of Alaska, the Columbian black-tailed deer is a sub-species of the mule deer.

The blacktail is slightly smaller than most mule deer or his white-tailed cousin, though. Like white-tailed deer, blacktail also change their coat colors, from a reddish-brown in summer to a brownish-gray in winter.



Blacktail are normally easy to spot by their ears, which move independently. This particular deer’s broad tail is totally black or dark brown at the top, with a white patch underneath.

This would make him easy to confuse with the white-tail, were it not for his distinctive dark brown antlers with symmetrical branching and easily-identifiable stocky bodies with long, slender legs.

Black-tailed deer weigh in at about 130 pounds, but can reach closer to 200. While blacktail males have antlers, their female counterparts do not – and male fawns start growing antlers at about 6-8 months old.

Blacktail can normally be found in forested mountains on the pacific coast, where the climate is mild and cool with plenty of rainfall. Blacktail live off a diet of acorns, fungi, lichen, nuts, berries, and shrubs

coues deer buck

Coues deer bucks have main beams that curve forward.

3. Coues Deer

This specific kind of white-tailed deer is among the most commonly found across the South-Eastern mountains of Arizona, especially during the rainy summertime.

Coues can be found in woodlands where there is plenty of oak, chaparral, and pine.

Coues deer are known for their distinctive antlers. The coues’ mean beam curves forward, and more mature coues have 3-4 tines on each side.

When it comes to coat, the coues is normally grayish-brown with specks of “salt and pepper,” and white patches underneath. The coues’ most distinguishing trait is his long and broad tail, which is grayish-red-black on top and white underneath.

Coues deer are normally quite small, and fawns are known to stay close to their mothers for longer than other deer.



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4. Mule Deer

mule deer bucks in field

Mule deer bucks have distinctive white patches on the backs of their hips and males have forked antlers.

Mule deer are commonly spotted in deserts across North and South America, flaunting large ears that first granted them their name.

The mule deer’s tail appears to have been dipped in black ink, and his antlers are forked.

You’ll also find a distinctive white patch on either hind side, which easily differentiates the mule deer from any other deer in America. The mule deer sports a grayish-brown coat, making it easier for him to adapt to his unique climate in desert areas.

Mule deer, often referred to as muleys, normally range from about 3 feet tall at the shoulders to a towering 7 feet (including antlers), weighing up to 280 pounds.

In addition to the whitetail, the mule deer is also one of the types of deer sought after by hunters.



5. Red Deer

These large land mammals (Britain’s largest, in fact) can weigh anywhere from 90 kg to 190 kg (around 100 to 225 lbs). They stand up to 1.37 meters (4-1/2 ft) tall at the shoulder, and can normally be found in wooded lowland areas.

red stag

A male red deer is called a “stag.” The stag’s antlers are branched.

But, the part of this deer’s anatomy that sets it apart from other deer so distinctly, is its noticeably large head and wide-spaced brown eyes.

A male red deer is called a stag. His antlers are perhaps his most distinctive feature – highly branched with multiple points on each.

The red deer’s antler branches increase with age at an angle.

Another unmistakable trait of the red deer are its hoof prints, otherwise known as “slots.” These are often mistaken for sheep or goat’s marks.

Red deer are mostly found in forest habitats across England and Southern Scotland, and graze on grass and dwarf shrubs. They generally breed from the end of September to November.


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6. Chital / Axis Deer

The Chital Deer, otherwise known as the axis deer, boasts unique characteristics that set it apart – one of which is the white spots that never go away. These speckled dots stay in place from youth through to adulthood, normally covering the entire body and spanning down the legs too. These spots make the axis deer one of the most easily recognized types of deer.

axis deer in a field

Axis deer have spots resembling those of a whitetail fawn, but they do not go away as they mature as the whitetail do.

The Chital Deer also has a rather long muzzle topped off with a dark black nose.

The axis deer normally weighs anywhere from 60 pounds to 170 pounds, depending on the region and habitat.

An interesting feature of male axis deer are their antlers, which normally have six points. However, more dominant bucks are found with more than this, making them significant trophies.

The axis deer were introduced in the United States in the 1930’s. The state of Texas has the highest population of axis deer in the U.S.

The axis deer is normally found living in secondary land areas, around glades where there is plenty to eat. The axis deer’s hoof shape prevents them from walking well on rugged terrain. So, they tend to avoid these types of areas.

The axis deer tend to be more social than other types of deer.


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7. Elk

bull elk bugling with cow elk

The elk was nearly killed off by early U.S. settlers, but now thrive, especially in the Western United States.

This member of the deer family is found primarily in the Western United States and Southern Canada.

The elk’s history is complex, with most being killed by Western U.S. settlers by the early 1900’s. The sole survivors were found mostly in the region just west of the Rocky Mountains.

Thankfully, reintroduction efforts were successful, and the elk can be found in many areas today – towering tall at 4-5 feet high at the shoulder. Some even reach up to 9 feet or higher, counting antler height.



You can spot an Elk from a distance, with a copper brown coat. This can change to light tan during the Fall and Winter months.

Elk are also easily noticeable by their rump patch, and short light-brown tail. Elk can be found feeding on all types of plants, mostly grass. Although, elk also enjoy twigs, forbs, fir, juniper, aspen, and chokeberry. They also love shrubs, particularly during the cold winter months.

Elk predators include cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bears, which often kill calves and sick adults.

reindeer

Reindeer spend much of the deer grazing.

8. Reindeer

This Christmas “legend” is actually a real deer. The male reindeer is unique among the rest, easily identifiable mainly by its antlers.

Other distinctive characteristics include his broad hooves, wide muzzle, and extra-thick brown fur.

These majestic creatures are a medium-sized member of the deer family, found across forests, mountains, and arctic tundra in Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Northern China.

Reindeer normally travel in massive herds and live in the wild for about a decade.

More domesticated reindeer are herded by Asian Artic and European peoples.

Reindeer are herbivores, and spend most of the day grazing. During the cold winter months, Reindeer can be found grazing on moss and lichens, leaves and herbs.



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9. Vampire Deer (Musk Deer)

musk deer

The musk deer, or “vampire deer,” has long fangs, but no antlers.

Otherwise known as musk deer, these “vampires” are actually quite shy and prone to voluntary solitary confinement.

These gentle, nocturnal creatures differ from other cervids, due to their lack of antlers and facial glands. They earned their name through their distinctive sharp vampire-like “fangs.” The over-sized canine teeth are impossible to miss.

vampire deer skull

Vampire deer skulls are instantly noticeable due to their fanged teeth.



Take note of his over-sized ears, exceptionally short tail, and lack of antlers. Traits like these make the vampire deer one of the easiest kinds to spot. His coat is grayish-brown, and his hair long and brittle.

While their name and long fangs might scare you off, this unique Asian deer is actually harmless. You’ll normally find him in mountainous regions, like the Himalayas or Siberia.