Deer (singular and plural) are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the household Cervidae. The 2 important teams of deer are the Cervinae, together with the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the fallow deer, and the chital; and the Capreolinae, together with the reindeer (caribou), the roe deer, and the moose. Feminine reindeer, and male deer of all species besides the Chinese language water deer, develop and shed new antlers every year. On this they differ from completely horned antelope, that are a part of a distinct household (Bovidae) inside the similar order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).
The musk deer (Moschidae) of Asia and chevrotains (Tragulidae) of tropical African and Asian forests are separate households inside the ruminant clade (Ruminantia). They're no extra intently associated to deer than are different even-toed ungulates.
Deer seem in artwork from Paleolithic cave work onwards, and so they have performed a task in mythology, faith, and literature all through historical past, in addition to in heraldry. Their financial significance consists of the usage of their meat as venison, their skins as delicate, robust buckskin, and their antlers as handles for knives. Deer looking has been a well-liked exercise since a minimum of the Center Ages and stays a useful resource for a lot of households right this moment.
Deer dwell in quite a lot of biomes, starting from tundra to the tropical rainforest. Whereas typically related to forests, many deer are ecotone species that dwell in transitional areas between forests and thickets (for canopy) and prairie and savanna (open area). The vast majority of massive deer species inhabit temperate blended deciduous forest, mountain blended coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, and savanna habitats around the globe. Clearing open areas inside forests to some extent may very well profit deer populations by exposing the understory and permitting the kinds of grasses, weeds, and herbs to develop that deer prefer to eat. Moreover, entry to adjoining croplands might also profit deer. Nevertheless, enough forest or brush cowl should nonetheless be offered for populations to develop and thrive.
Deer are broadly distributed, with indigenous representatives in all continents besides Antarctica and Australia, although Africa has just one native deer, the Barbary stag, a subspecies of pink deer that's confined to the Atlas Mountains within the northwest of the continent. Nevertheless, fallow deer have been launched to South Africa. Small species of brocket deer and pudús of Central and South America, and muntjacs of Asia usually occupy dense forests and are much less typically seen in open areas, with the doable exception of the Indian muntjac. There are additionally a number of species of deer which might be extremely specialised, and dwell virtually solely in mountains, grasslands, swamps, and “moist” savannas, or riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in each North America and Eurasia. Examples embrace the caribou that dwell in Arctic tundra and taiga (boreal forests) and moose that inhabit taiga and adjoining areas. Huemul deer (taruca and Chilean huemul) of South America's Andes fill the ecological niches of the ibex and wild goat, with the fawns behaving extra like goat youngsters.
The very best focus of huge deer species in temperate North America lies within the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain areas between Alberta and British Columbia the place all 5 North American deer species (white-tailed deer, mule deer, caribou, elk, and moose) may be discovered. This area has a number of clusters of nationwide parks together with Mount Revelstoke Nationwide Park, Glacier Nationwide Park (Canada), Yoho Nationwide Park, and Kootenay Nationwide Park on the British Columbia aspect, and Banff Nationwide Park, Jasper Nationwide Park, and Glacier Nationwide Park (U.S.) on the Alberta and Montana sides. Mountain slope habitats differ from moist coniferous/blended forested habitats to dry subalpine/pine forests with alpine meadows greater up. The foothills and river valleys between the mountain ranges present a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands. The uncommon woodland caribou have essentially the most restricted vary dwelling at greater altitudes within the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas of a number of the mountain ranges. Elk and mule deer each migrate between the alpine meadows and decrease coniferous forests and are typically commonest on this area. Elk additionally inhabit river valley bottomlands, which they share with White-tailed deer. The White-tailed deer have not too long ago expanded their vary inside the foothills and river valley bottoms of the Canadian Rockies owing to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests permitting extra deciduous vegetation to develop up the mountain slopes. Additionally they dwell within the aspen parklands north of Calgary and Edmonton, the place they share habitat with the moose. The adjoining Nice Plains grassland habitats are left to herds of elk, American bison, and pronghorn antelope.