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deer,ruminant mammal of the family Cervidae, found in most parts of the world except Australia. Antlers, solid bony outgrowths of the skull, develop in the males of most species and are shed and renewed annually. They are at first covered by "velvet," a soft, hairy skin permeated by blood vessels. The stem of the antler is called the beam, and the branches are the tines. Antlers are used as weapons during breeding-season combats between bucks. In deer that lack antlers (the musk deermusk deer,
small, antlerless deer, Moschus moschiferus, found in wet mountain forests from Siberia and Korea to the Himalayas. In summer it ranges up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m). It is from 20 to 24 in.
..... Click the link for more information. and Chinese river deer), long upper canines serve as weapons. Deer are polygamous. They eat a variety of herbaceous plants, lichens, mosses, and tree leaves and bark.
The white-tailed deer that live in woodlands throughout the United States and in Central America and N South America was a source of food, buckskin, and other necessities for Native Americans and white settlers. Deer flesh, called venison, is still considered a delicacy. Slaughter through the years nearly exterminated the whitetail, but it is now restored in large numbers in the E United States and to a lesser extent in the West. In summer its upper parts are reddish brown, in winter grayish. The mule deer exists in reduced numbers from the Plains region westward, and the closely related black-tailed deer is a Pacific coast form.
Old World deer include the red deer, closely related to the North American wapitiwapiti
, large North American deer, Cervus canadensis, closely related to the Old World red deer. It is commonly called elk in America although the name elk is used in Europe to refer to the moose.
..... Click the link for more information. , the fallow deer, and the axis deer. The only deer in Africa are small numbers of red deer found in the north in a forested area. The barking deer, or muntjac, is a small deer of S Asia. A muntjac discovered in N Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 1997 is believed to be the smallest deer in the world. Called the leaf deer, Muntiacus putaoensis, it stands about 20 in. (45 cm) at the shoulder. The misleadingly named mouse deer, or chevrotainchevrotain
, name for several species of small, ruminant mammals of Africa and SE Asia. Although they are also called mouse deer, chevrotains are not closely related to true deer, and are classified in a family of their own.
..... Click the link for more information. , is not a deer, but belongs to a related family (Tragulidae). Many species of deer are threatened with extinction. Deer are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Cervidae.
See also cariboucaribou,
name in North America for the genus (Rangifer) of deer from which the Old World reindeer was originally domesticated. Caribou are found in arctic and subarctic regions. They are the only deer in which both sexes have antlers.
..... Click the link for more information. ; elkelk,
name applied to several large members of the deer family. It most properly designates the largest member of the family, Alces alces, found in the northern regions of Eurasia and North America. In North America this animal is called moose.
..... Click the link for more information. ; moosemoose,
largest member of the deer family, genus Alces, found in the northern parts of Eurasia and North America. The Eurasian species, A. alces, is known in Europe as the elk, a name which in North America is applied to another large deer, the wapiti.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Père David's deerPère David's deer
, Asian deer, Elaphurus davidianus, known only in a semidomesticated state. It has a bulky, donkeylike body, reaching a shoulder height of nearly 4 ft (120 cm), with a tufted tail longer than that of any other deer.
..... Click the link for more information. ; reindeerreindeer,
ruminant mammal, genus Rangifer, of the deer family, found in arctic and subarctic regions of Eurasia and North America. It is the only deer in which both sexes have antlers.
..... Click the link for more information. .
What does it mean when you dream about deer?
The deer, as one of the most widely hunted species in North America, is naturally associated with hunting. It also symbolizes grace and gentleness (“gentle as a deer”). In folklore deer are messengers of fairies, which may give them a symbolic role in dreams as messengers of the unconscious.