The deer is the biggest wild herbivore in the Iberian Peninsula. It can weight up to 200 kilograms and its maximum length can reach two metres. A deer can be 1.5 metres high.
The deer is the biggest wild herbivore in the Iberian Peninsula. It can weight up to 200 kilograms and its maximum length can reach two metres. A deer can be 1.5 metres high. Male deer are bigger and usually have antlers , since they only lose them between February and May. Females are smaller and do not have antlers. Deer coat is reddish in spring and summer and greyish in autumn and winter. Fawn usually show white spots.
Deer found in the Iberian Peninsula are significantly smaller than deer found in the North of Europe. Besides, deer in the Iberian Peninsula do not have manes, unlike European deer. Deer antlers change throughout life, being an important feature in naming animals. Deer are called ‘varetos’ when they are young and the antlers show just one point and ‘horquillones’ when they have two points. The number of points arising from each antler has no relation with the animal age, it depends on different genetic and environmental factors.
Deer can be found in a variety of habitats, from mountain ranges and forests to pastures and meadows. In Spain deer can be found in the Pyrinees, in Monfragüe, in the Culebra Mountain Range, in the Cantabrian Range and in different mountain ranges in Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and Andalucía, just to name some places.
Deer are seasonal breeders. The mating season takes place between September and October. Rutting bucks often chase does and fight against other bucks. They adopt diurnal habits and are less cautious.
Deer reach maturity at the age of 2 years, but bucks must spend some years fighting against other bucks before breeding. Female deer live together with other young deer, while bucks live alone moving from one place to another.
Deer feed primarily on young leaves, fresh grasses, soft twigs, fruit, fungi and lichens. Deer allow for a natural control of vegetation growth. Deer usually have nocturnal habits when they live near human beings (except during mating season). In remote regions deer can show diurnal habits as well.
Wolf is the only natural enemy of deer. In the Culebra Mountain Range, where the two species have been living together for a long time, the pressure of wolf predation has made bigger deer due to natural selection.
Deer have cloven hoof, with secondary toes that only get imprinted on wet grounds. Deer leave evidence related to their feeding routines on vegetation. Besides, deer can damage tree trunks by rubbing or scraping their antlers. Like other big herbivores, deer spend daytime hours laying on clearings of vegetation in quiet places.