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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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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; 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.
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; 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.
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; Père David's deerPère David's deer
, Asian deer, Elaphurus davidianus, known only in a semidomesticated state. Also known as milu and elaphure, 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.
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; 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.
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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.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for 41 species of even-toed ungulates that compose the family Cervidae in the order Artiodactyla; males have antlers.


1. any ruminant artiodactyl mammal of the family Cervidae, including reindeer, elk, muntjacs, and roe deer, typically having antlers in the male
2. (in N Canada) another name for caribou


As like with most other animals, the deer in your dream may represent some aspect of your intuition or it may be a message from your unconscious. In some parts of Asia, deer are considered to be conductors of soul and thus the robes of shamans are usually made out of deerskin. The Indians of North and South America also gave deer a spiritually important role. They believed that the souls of men passed into deer at the time of death. They also believed that a dying deer was a negative omen, which usually represented droughts that in turn foretold of very difficult times ahead. In the modern world, we generally see deer as gentle forest animals. Deer are characters in children’s stories and Santa Claus uses them to bring gifts to all. Thus, the deer in your dream may be a symbol of gentle and helpful parts of your psyche. In order to understand the message of the dream, think about what situation in your life would benefit from gentleness and soulfulness?
References in classic literature ?
But this will buy you many deer,” said the Judge; “take it, I entreat you;” and, lowering his voice to a whisper, he added, “It is for a hundred dollars.
At each movement he made his body lowered several inches, his knees yielding with an inclination inward; but, as the sleigh turned at a bend in the road, the youth cast his eyes in quest of his old companion, and he saw that he was already nearly concealed by the trunks of the tree; while his dogs were following quietly in his footsteps, occasionally scenting the deer track, that they seemed to know instinctively was now of no further use to them.
For the third time Numa, the lion, uttered that low pleading whine and then, with a rueful and disgusted shake of his head, Tarzan of the Apes raised the balance of the carcass of Bara, the deer, and hurled it to the famished beast below.
Presently he would shed tears because he has killed Bara, the deer.
One could hear the scuffling, snorting pig asking for more room; the buffaloes grunting among themselves as they lurched out across the sand-bars, and the deer telling pitiful stories of their long foot-sore wanderings in quest of food.
He waited a little to enjoy the sensation he made among the deer on the opposite to lap, growling: "The jungle has become a whelping-ground for naked cubs now.
That night, so it was told to me, we of the Jungle did not lie down together as used to be our custom, but each tribe drew off by itself--the pig with the pig, the deer with the deer; horn to horn, hoof to hoof,--like keeping to like, and so lay shaking in the Jungle.
And the First of the Tigers ran to and fro, calling aloud to the deer and the pig and the sambhur and the porcupine and all the Jungle Peoples, and they all ran away from him who had been their judge, because they were afraid.
said the deer, thinking of what it all meant to them.
The deer grunted sorrowfully and Bagheera's lips curled in a wicked smile.
Never again would he eat their fruit; but from that day he revenged himself upon the deer, and the others, the Eaters of Grass," said Baloo.
Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer.