Interesting deer facts

June 21, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

Deer come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the South American pudu, weighing 20 pounds and reaching only 14-15 inches at the shoulder, to the moose of North America and Europe, which can reach a shoulder height of 7.5 feet and weigh more than 1,700 pounds.

About 40 species of deer can be found in various parts of the world, and all but one have antlers.

The larger the deer, the larger and more complex the antlers.

The extinct Irish elk had antlers that reached a span of 12 feet and weighed more than 100 pounds.

Although all male deer have them, the reindeer, or caribou, is the only species in which females also have antlers.

Deer are herbivores, or plant eaters. They are also ruminants, which means that, like cows, they have many-chambered stomachs and chew their cud, which allows them to digest plants that humans, with only one stomach, could not.

Although many plants build up defenses to prevent being eaten by animals, the red deer, a European relative of the North American elk, can adapt remarkably well to overcome these defenses. They can eat plants that are not only difficult to digest, but very bitter or even poisonous.

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