The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest deer species. The red deer inhabits most of Europe.
Red deer are ruminants, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach. Genetic evidence indicates the red deer (Cervus elaphus) as traditionally defined is a species group rather than a single species, although it remains disputed as to exactly how many species the group includes.
The red deer is the second-largest deer species behind moose, and before reindeer and row deer.
Only the stags have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each year, usually at the end of winter. Antlers typically measure 71 cm in total length and weigh 1 kg , although large ones can grow to 115 cm and weigh 5 kg .Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 cm a day. A soft covering known as velvet helps to protect newly forming antlers in the spring.
Norway has a winterpopulation of 150 000 individuals. They are located south of Salt Fjellet in Nordland, although some individuals have been sighted as north as near Fauske.
Scientific Name: Cervus elaphus
Distribution: Deer is found in many parts of Eurasia and North America . The species is in no way threatened , although there may be local populations who are under pressure and are losing habitat.
Appearance : Norwegian deer are generally smaller than other deer. It is characterized by the dark hair stripe that runs from the neck along the back of the animal. The hair stripe is evident in both the reddish-brown summer coat , as the more gray-brown winter coat.
Length : 160 cm to 230 cm , shoulder height 105-120 cm
Weight : Stags 180 to 240 kg , femals 130 to 150 kg
Biology : The deer are sexually mature after 1.5 years. The size of the antlers play an important role prior to the red deer reproduction . During the rutting season in autumn males compete against each other to acquire a harem of hinds , which they then mate with . The dominant male prevents the other deer to mate on the area of in his harem . The female is pregnant about eight months , when she normally give birth to one calf. Birthl takes place preferably in May. The calf is nursed about .seven months. The calf will follow the mother for about a year , until she gives birth to a new calf.
Diet: Deer are herbivores and have powerful jaws that help to crush food . In winter, the deer tend to eat the buds and twigs of tree trunks . Elm and birch theyy like best. The velvet, the soft skin of antlers, is being scraped off in the fall and often eaten . In mineral- poor areas it also happens that the deer gnawing in her own antlers after it is cut.
Age: Can be up to 20 years.
Velvet covers a growing antler and provides it with blood, supplying oxygen and nutrients.