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DISSERTATION Chital Deer (Axis)


The evolutionary history of deer dates back almost 20 million years ago (MYA) beginning in the Miocene and Early Pliocene of Eurasia (Webb, 2000). This highly diverse group evolved as a north-temperate group of artiodactyls that retained the forest- or woodland-dwelling habit of their chevrotain-like ancestors. Meanwhile by the early Pliocene true cervids (deer family) became identifiable in North America; however, the evolutionary history of deer in North America and in the neotropics is still somewhat obscure. In the late Pliocene, approximately 2.53 million years ago, the uplift of the Panamanian land bridge allowed deer to spread south, as participants in the Great American Interchange between North and South America (Stehli and Webb, 1985). These were the first deer to enter the Southern Hemisphere, and their surprising success in South America may be attributed in part to the absence of any other ruminants (Webb, 2000). Deer of Central and South America fit into two major morphological forms. Adults of the smaller deer species are less than 60 cm at the shoulder and males develop unbranched spike antlers. Their small size and simple antlers are morphological adaptations to move efficiently in densely vegetated forests and closed ecosystems (Mazama and Pudu). The remaining species inhabit more open forested areas, grasslands, pampas and wetlands and are much larger in stature and the males have branched antlers ( Odocoileus, Hippocamelus, Ozotoceros, and Blastocerus; Eisenberg,2000; Merino et al., 2005). The evolution of the Cervidae, especially in the Neotropics, remains unclear partly because the fossil record is incomplete and rather scarce (Webb, 2000). Although phylogenetic studies of this group have been undertaken with several approaches, including morphology (Merino et al., 2005), isozymes (Smith et al., 1986), cytogenetics (Duarte and Merino, 1997), and DNA sequences (Randi et al., 1998, 2001; Pitra et al., 2004; Gilbert et al., 2006), a great deal of confusion still remains with regard to their evolutionary history and taxonomy. These studies resulted in conflicting hypotheses about the phylogenetic relationships within the Neotropical cervids and hence, inducing uncertain evolutionary interpretations.

The family Cervidae appears to have one of the highest karyotypic evolutionary rates in mammals due to extreme chromosomal fragility (VargasMunar, 2003). In addition, the taxonomy of brocket deer has been very problematic mostly because the low levels of morphological differentiation are not correlated with the wide karyotypic diversification among the species in this genus (Groves and Grubb, 1987, 1990; Duarte and Merino, 1997). Descriptions based on morphological taxonomic revisions of the genus Mazama have generated between 6 (Czernay, 1987) and up to 18 (Allen, 1915) species. Taxonomic revisions of this group based on journal homepage: cytogenetic data have proven to be more useful in comparison with morphological approaches in recognizing new cryptic species of red brockets from Mexico (Mazama temama; Groves and Grubb,1987), and more recently from Brazil ( Mazama bororo; Duarte and Jorge, 2003).


: Animalia




: Mammalia


: Artiodactyla


: Cervidae

The history of the deer basically varies from one type of deer to another according to regions.

Sambar were obtained mainly from Sri Lanka with a smaller number coming from Sumatra. They were first released in the early 1860s at Mount Sugarloaf in what is now the Kinglake National Park, and at Harewood, near Tooradin, on the edge of the then Koo Wee Rup swamp. Later releases were at Ercildoune, between Ballarat and Mount Cole and at Wilsons Promontory and French Island in Westernport Bay. Another release was made on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory. Although the South Gippsland deer prospered for a time, most eventually disappeared probably because of reduced habitat as land was cleared for farming. The Tooradin deer gradually moved through the Koo Wee Rup swamp, which was also being drained and cleared, and eventually began to colonise the West Gippsland ranges from Pakenham through to Noojee. In 1939 wildfire destroyed much of the forest in eastern Victoria, and the regeneration which followed provided a wonderful source of food for the expanding sambar population. The timing coincided with the Second World War, which meant that hunting pressure was reduced dramatically, not that it was ever great, and the sambar built up their numbers in nearly ideal conditions. But a good population of sambar would be considered to be low numbers for other deer species. The social structure of the sambar population does not allow for high population densities so, as numbers increase, the deer colonise new country or slow down their breeding activity. After the war, recreational hunting slowly gained in popularity and the deer were regularly hunted in the Bunyip, Tarago, Latrobe and Yarra watersheds. At the same time, young deer, which had been forced out by social pressures, were infiltrating the river systems to the north and east.

The deer from the Mount Sugarloaf release followed a similar pattern and the two groups eventually merged. From their original release points, the sambar dispersed into almost all of the forested country in eastern Victoria, in a slowly moving 'wave' pattern. At the front of the wave were young animals which roam widely and establish themselves in the best of the available habitat. These animals mature into very large deer because there is little competition for food. Numbers gradually increase until a peak population is reached, when there is a sharp decline brought about by a reducing food supply and a social structure in which the older females force the younger ones to leave and find their own home ranges. When there are comparatively large numbers of deer, body size is markedly smaller and the reproductive rate is less. Behind the wave, the sambar gradually rebuild their numbers at a rate dependent on the quality of the habitat. Natural events such as floods and wildfire, and human activities like forestry and fuel reduction burning, play their part in producing good or bad habitat for wildlife and the sambar respond to these changing conditions in the same way as native mammals.

RUSA - In the nineteenth century many rusa were liberated in New South
Wales, Victoria and Western Australia but now these have all disappeared, except for those deer situated in the Royal National Park in New South Wales and others which have infiltrated into new country south of the Park. For many years, visitors to the Royal National Park were able to observe the deer living naturally in their rugged environment and some deer were attracted to the most often visited areas by food scraps. These soon became easily approachable and the rusa of the Royal National Park became the most photographed wild deer in Australia. The New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service has for many years carried out an eradication campaign aimed at completely wiping out rusa in the Park because they are an introduced species. The wildfires of 1994 temporarily destroyed most of the vegetation in the Park, making the surviving rusa much more vulnerable to this operation. No conclusive evidence has ever been produced to show that the deer had any serious detrimental effect on

the Park environment, so the deer are victims of the anti-exotic philosophy so common among our wildlife managers. Another successful liberation, this time of the Moluccan rusa (Cervus timorensis moluccensis), was carried out in 1910 on Friday Island at the tip of Cape York Peninsula. These deer are now more widely distributed and can be found on Prince of Wales and Possession Islands, Groote Eylandt, and have also been reported on the Queensland mainland.

CHITAL, or axis deer as they are sometimes known, are natives of India and Sri Lanka where they comprise the major part of the tiger's prey. They were the first species of deer introduced to Australia when, between 1800 and 1803, some were brought to this country by Dr. John Harris of the New South Wales Corps. They figured prominently in later introductions in other States including several in Victoria and on the Darling Downs in Queensland. They were also released at Maryvale station near the Burdekin River, North Queensland. HOG DEER are among the most primitive of all the deer species and are native to several south-east Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. A sub-species, the endangered Axis porcinus annamiticus, extends from Thailand to Vietnam and China. After becoming extinct in Thailand, it has recently been re-introduced into two locations in the north of the country. The Acclimatisation Society of Victoria, with the support of the Victorian government, introduced and established hog deer in Victoria during the 1860s. In October 1865, the steamer Pharos transported three stags and nine hinds to their release point at Opossum Creek in Corner Inlet on the eastern side of Wilson's Promontory. Further releases followed near the Latrobe River at Sale, between Seymour and Yea and in the hills near Gembrook. The deer became firmly established in the coastal swamps and off-shore islands but declined elsewhere

RED DEER are natives of Europe, Asia and parts of North Africa. They
are the deer most often referred to by those brought up in the ways of European hunting traditions. The two most important sources of Australia's red deer are Windsor Great Park and Knowsley Park in Lancashire, England. Windsor Great Park was in existence in the 13th century and the herd had a large infusion of German red deer late in the 17th century. A few animals of Scottish bloodlines were also brought into Australia but their influence is much stronger in the Queensland herd than in the southern states. The most impressive antlers are certainly those grown by the Queensland deer. The most important herd of red deer to be established in Australia was at Thomas Chirnside's Werribee Park homestead between Melbourne and Geelong. Deer from this herd were sent to various parts of Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand.

FALLOW DEER originated in parts of Europe, Asia Minor, Spain and

north-west Africa and have been established in the wild in Australia since their introduction and release sometime around 1830. They are now the most widespread of the six species which successfully adapted to the Australian environment with wild populations in Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Fallow deer do well in fringe country where there is a mixture of developed and semi-developed farmland with open forest or scrub nearby. Wherever they occur in Australia, their habitat consists of these basic requirements.

Deers have significant roles in the mythology of various religions and regions.

In many European mythologies the deer was associated with woodland deities. Two tales of Artemis, the Greek goddess of wilderness, tell of her wrath and retribution visited upon those who trespassed into her domain. By controlling the weather she kept King Agamemnon's fleet bound for Troy confined to port, to avenge the killing of a stag sacred to her. Another hunter, Acteon, used a stag's pelt to sneak up on Artemis whilst she was bathing in the forest. As punishment for seeing her naked, she changed him into a stag and sent him back into the woods to be hunted down and killed by his own hounds. Other woodland goddesses, such as Diana, the Roman equivalent of Artemis, were similarly associated with deer and their perceived qualities of gracefulness and swiftness. IRISH MYTHOLOGY In Irish mythology Finn mac Cumhail, the legendary leader of Ireland's heroic band of warriors known as the Fianna, cornered a beautiful white deer, which his hounds then refused to dispatch. That night Finn was visited by the goddess Sadb, who explained that a spell had turned her into the deer Finn had chased, a spell from which his love could release her. Though they became lovers, the magician who cast the spell reclaimed Sadb when Finn was away repelling a Viking raid on Dublin, and though the Fianna searched the land, Sadb could not be found. Some years later however, another of Finn mac Cumhail's hunting sorties tracked down a naked, long haired boy whom once again his hounds refused to kill.

The boy did not know his father but knew his mother to be a gentle hind who lived in fear of another man. Details of the story convinced Finn that this was his son, and he named him Oisin, meaning fawn. Oisin too became a heroic Fenian warrior, though he also inherited some of his mother's gentler arts and was acknowledged as Ireland's greatest poet.

CELTIC MYTHOLOGY In Celtic religion the stag was a symbol for the god Cernunnos, "The Horned One". Cernunnos was often portrayed with antlers himself, and was a god of the forest and wild animals. He was also seen as a god of 'Plenty', and the large Celtic 'Cauldrons of Plenty' often featured deer motifs amongst their ornate decoration. The magnificent Gundestrup Cauldron, for example, shows an antlered man alongside a deer and other wildlife. Though this is often regarded as a representation of Cernunnos, his pose in a half lotus position suggests he could also be a Celtic shaman.

Saint Giles, a Catholic saint especially revered in the south of France, is reported to have lived for many years as a hermit in the forest near Nimes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being a deer, or hind, who in some stories sustained him on her milk. In art, he is often depicted together with that hind. In the founding legend of Le Puy-en-Velay, where a Christian church replaced a healing megalithic dolmen, a local tradition had rededicated the curative virtue of the sacred site to Mary, who cured ailments by contact with the standing stone. When the founding bishop Vosy climbed the hill, he found that it was snow-covered in July; in the snowfall the

tracks of a deer round the dolmen outlined the foundations of the future church. Saint Hubertus (or "Hubert") is a Christian saint, the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians and metalworkers, and used to be invoked to cure rabies. The legend of concerned an apparition of a stag with the crucifix between its horns, effecting the worldly and aristocratic Hubert's conversion to a saintly life. In the story of Saint Hubertus, on Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubertus sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag the animal turned and, as the pious legend narrates, he was astounded at perceiving a crucifix standing between its antlers, which occasioned the change of heart that led him to a saintly life. The story of the heart appears first in one of the later legendary hagiographies (Bibliotheca hagiographica Latina, nos. 39944002) and has been appropriated from the earlier legend of Saint Eustace or Placidus. The deer is considered by some Christians to be a symbol of Christ. The Bible book, Song of Solomon, chapter 2, verses 8-10 reads: The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. (KJV) Many Christians interpret the Song of Solomon to represent the longing of Christ for his Church, and vice versa.


The Hindu faith associated the deer with the goddess Saraswati, who represents knowledge, music and the arts. As the consort of Brahma and the wife of Vishnu, the goddess is responsible for the birth of the Vedas the oldest sacred text of Hinduism. In one myth, Saraswati takes the form of a red deer (called Rohit). Since she is the goddess of learning, men who saw themselves as intelligent would wear deerskin for clothing and sat upon mats made from deer skin. A golden deer plays an important role in the epic Ramayana. While in exile in the forest, Rama's wife Sita sees a golden deer and asks Rama and Lakshmana to get it for her. The deer is actually a rakshasa called Maricha in disguise. Maricha takes this form to lure Rama and Lakshmana away from Sita so his nephew Ravana can kidnap her. GREEK MYTHOLOGY Artemis represented the Hellenic goddess of forests and hills, childbirth, virginity, fertility, and the hunt. This is why the goddess is often seen with a bow and arrows slung over her back or in her hands. Sacred to Artemis is the deer commonly placed in artistic depictions of the goddess. An interesting myth regarding Artemis is her treatment of Actaeon, who caught the goddess taking a bath in a pool while nude. She turned the poor soul into a stag, which was torn apart by his own hounds. in golden armor and belt, you yoked a golden chariot, bridled deer in gold. One of the Labors of Heracles was to capture the Cerynian Hind sacred to Artemis and deliver it briefly to his patron, then rededicate it to Artemis. As a hind bearing antlers was unknown in Greece, the story suggests a reindeer, which, unlike other deer, can be harnessed and whose females bear antlers. The myth relates to Hyperborea, a northern land that would be a natural habitat for reindeer. Heracles' son Telephus was exposed as an infant on the slopes of Tegea but nurtured by a doe.

Diana of Versailles

Heracles, Telephus and the doe (Louvre Museum)

Though different species of deer, as well as wholly magical versions, played their part in different mythologies, in northern Europe the reoccurring theme of the deer as animal of the hunt, and specifically the chase, revolved around the red deer. These animals, especially the antlered stags, were large, alert and swift beasts against which royalty, aristocracy and other wealthy patrons could pit their wits. Laws and taboos denied the common folk access to this bounty, though we are all familiar with mediaeval outlaws like Robin Hood who risked severe punishments for the taste of venison. The word venison originally applied to the meat of any of the wild animals of the chase, including wild boar for example, the word being derived, via the French, from the Latin 'venari' meaning 'to hunt'. Two of Britain's greatest mediaeval playwrights drew on deer folklore in their plays. Christopher Marlowe mentioned the belief that "The forest deer being struck runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds." In The Merry Wives of Windsor William Shakespearewrites

"There an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter, Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest, Doth all the winter time, at still midnight, Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;" Though Herne's oak was certainly a local landmark in Windsor great park until 1796, there appears to be no mention of a deer-like Herne in folklore prior to Shakespeare, though he has variously been associated with the leader of the 'Wild Hunt' or with Cernunnos, the Horned One.


Deer play the role of a consumer in the ecosystem. Deer eat green plants. They would be considered a primary consumer because they are herbivores (animals that eat only plants). In certain forests, green plants are held in check by the deer using them for food. In the relationship of predator prey in an ecosystem, the deer become the prey for other animals, man being one of them. If the deer are taken out of an ecosystem, some green plants will over populate from the deer not there to eat them and some animal populations would decrease because they have lost a food source. According to UPI, a new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management has found that a high deer population is good for reptiles, amphibians and insects. Researchers from Ohio State University and the National Park Service found that droppings from a high deer population might enrich the soil, which benefits certain vegetation that supports smaller animals.

Cervids are an important food source for many predators throughout their geographic range. For example, one study showed that over 80% of the feces of gray wolves in Algonquin Park in Canada contained the remains of white-tailed deer. Cervids are host to a variety of

endoparasites, including parasitic flatworms and many species of roundworm spend at least part of their lifecycle in the tissues of cervid hosts. Cervids are also vulnerable to various forms of parasitic arthropods including ticks, lice, mites, keds, fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. In addition, cervids compete with other species for food and other resources, which can effectually limit both inter- and intraspecific population growth. Cervids play an integral role in the structure and function of the ecosystems in which they reside, and some species have been shown to alter the density and composition of local plant communities. For example, on Isle Royale National Park, MI, moose have been shown to alter the density and composition of foraged aquatic plant communities, and fecal nitrogen transferred from aquatic to terrestrial habitats via the ingestion of aquatic macrophytes increases terrestrial nitrogen availability in summer core areas. Foraging by cervids has been shown to have a significant impact on plant succession, and plant diversity is greater in areas subjected to foraging. As a result, foraging might lead to shifts from one plant community type to another (e.g., hardwoods to conifers). In addition, moderate levels of foraging by cervids may increase habitat suitability for conspecifics. For example, litter from foraged plants decomposes more quickly than non-browsed, thus increasing nutrient availability to the surrounding plant community. Moreover, nutrient inputs from urine and feces have been shown to contribute to longer stem growth and larger leaves in the surrounding plant community, which are preferentially fed upon during subsequent foraging bouts. Finally, research has shown that the decomposition of cervid carcasses can result in elevated soil macronutrients and leaf nitrogen for a minimum of two years Although cervids can be host to numerous species of pathogenic bacteria and protozoa, in conjunction with anaerobic fungi, similar classes of microorganisms are one of the major reasons that cervids are as abundant and diverse as they are today. Bacteria comprise between 60 and 90% of the microbial community present in the ruminant's gastrointestinal (GI) tract and help break down cellulose. Ciliated protozoa, which make up 10 to 40% of the microbe community within the rumen, help break down cellulose, while also feeding on starches, proteins and

bacteria. The presence of anaerobic fungi in the rumen has only been known since the early 1970's. These fungi make up between 5 to 10% of the rumen's microbial abundance and are thought to help break down the cell wall of ingested plant material. Bacteria and protozoa that pass from the upper to the lower regions of the GI tract represent a significant portion of the dietary nitrogen required by their host.


The family Cervidae, commonly referred to as "the deer family", consists of 23 genera containing 47 species and three subfamilies.

Subfamilies: Capriolinae Cervinae Hydropotinaebrocket deer, caribou, deer, moose, and relatives elk, muntjacs, and tufted deer which contains only one extinct spieces


White-Tailed Deer

As the name of this animal tells us, the White Tailed Deer is one that has a patch of white that is located around the area of its tail.

Red Deer

The Red Deer feature a gorgeous coat that is any shade of red. They often have a darker color to them that can almost seem brown in many regions.


Reindeer seem to appeal to people of all ages due to the legacy and connection they have to the holiday season.


Of all the different species of deer out there, the Moose is the largest of them. They can reach a weight of about 1,800 pounds for the males.

Water Deer

The Water Deer has tusks rather than antlers which is very interesting. In spite of that though they are genetically proven to be a class of deer.

Common Muntjac

The Common Muntjac Deer is also often referred to as the Indian Muntjac Deer. They are the same though but many people assume they are two different species.

Axis Deer or Chital Deer

The Axis Deer is also referred to as the Chital Deer. It has a unique characteristic which is that the white spots of the young dont disappear.


The Elk is a very large deer species and one that has a unique stature to it. The males especially stand with a very proud design to them.

Sika Deer

The Sika Deer can be either small or medium in size, depending on the area where it happens to live. You will notice that they all have small legs and a very small head.

Eld's Deer

The Elds Deer is a medium sized deer. A full grown male can weigh about 330 pounds and have an antler spread of 39 inches.

Sambar Deer

The Sambar Deer is often confused with the Elk due to the bulky body and long, thin legs. They also have very long antlers that can develop quite a few points on them.

Visayan Spotted Deer

The Visayan Spotted Deer is beautiful and it is a small species of deer. They are often the size of family dogs.

Fallow Deer

The Fallow Deer is considered to be medium in size. They have a light brown coat with white spots. They are one of the few species of deer that dont lose their spots a few months after birth.

Key Deer

The Key Deer is a subspecies of the White Tailed Deer but they are much smaller. They males average in size from 50 to 70 pounds.

Mule Deer

The Mule Deer is considered to be a larger species of deer. They also have ears that are larger than most compared to their body size.

Pampas Deer

The light tan coloring of the Pampas Deer allows it to perfectly blend into the surroundings. They have patches of white around the lips and along the throat area.


The smallest species of deer in the world is the Pudu and they are really cute to look at! In fact, their size is part of the reason why people take such a keen interest in them.

Roe Deer

The Roe Deer is very small which is why many people seeing full grown adults mistake them for younger generations of the species. Full grown they range in size from about 30 pounds to 60.

Extinct Deer Species

Some species of deer that have been identified are no longer with us. Some of them have been gone for millions of years. For various reasons they werent able to adapt well enough to their changing environment to continue on.


Antler Development (Summary)

Antlers of males are large but simple, usually with only three points.Axis antlers have a six point plan. They sweep back into an upward curve and have three points each. More points than six would be atypical. Antlers are most often in the 20" range. Antlers in the 30" range are considered excellent trophies, and if they reach 36" they are exceptional. The world record occurred in India and is 41".

Unlike horns, which are permanent structures, antlers are shed and regrown each year. Some deer begin growing their new antlers almost immediately after the old ones have been shed, while other species exhibit a delay between shedding and re-growth.

Horns consist of a bony projection of the frontal (forehead) bone enclosed by a sleeve of keratin they maintain a venous (blood) and nervous supply through the animals lifetime and the horns continue to grow during this time. Antlers, by contrast, are made of bone and develop from a point on the top of the males skull called the pedicle, rather than from the skull itself. The antler grows out of the pedicles and, during its formation, its covered with hairy skin, pink-to-grey in colour, packed with blood vessels and nerves (making them highly sensitive to the touch) called velvet a stag in velvet is still sometimes referred to by the 16th Century term pollard. Should the velvet become damaged, the antlers can become deformed. The potential rejuvenating power of deer velvet has lead to the marketing of tablets made from the velvet of farmed deer; the tablets are said to provide relief from various ailments spanning impotence to arthritis, whilst also having immune enhancing properties.

When the antlers growth is complete, the velvet dries up and is shed (at this point, the deer is said to be in tatters) this process appears to be under hormonal control and usually takes less than 24 hours. Deer antlers have androgen (male sex hormones) receptors and it appears that an increase in testosterone levels (probably related to increasing day length) causes the blood supply to the antler velvet to be severed, causing the velvet to die and dry out. When the antlers have been cleaned by the stag or buck (i.e. the velvet has been completely removed), the animal is said to be in the misnomer of hard horn. At this point, the antler is dead bone it no longer has a nervous or blood supply and it cannot repair itself should damage occur. In her 1991 book Deer, biologist Norma Chapman explains that the basic antler pattern is genetically-fixed for a species, although the exact form and size of the antlers are affected both by parental characters and quality of food.

A study conducted by Uwe and Horst Kierdorf at the University of Giessen in Germany found that Roe deer antlers form by a different process to those of either Red or Fallow. It seems that whilst Red and Fallow antlers form by a process of modified endochondral ossification (i.e. a cartilage model is turned to bone), Roe antlers form by intramembraneous ossification (i.e. connective tissue membrane is turned to bone). The study also found that although formation of Roe antlers was different, the antler growth proceeds by endochordal ossification.

Casting of antlers is initiated by a drop in blood testosterone. Many studies on captive deer have demonstrated that if a stag is castrated while in full antler (i.e. hard horn), he will still cast and regrow his antlers, but the velvet will never dry out and the antlers will not be shed. Under normal circumstances, antlers are shed and re-grown annually to coincide with the deers breeding season. Red, Fallow, Sika and Muntjac shed their antlers during April and May and the new growth is complete and cleaned by August/September. Roe shed their antlers in November/December and re-grow them over the winter and early spring such that theyre cleaned during April/May. Shed antlers are sometimes eaten or licked by deer and other animals, providing a valuable source of calcium and phosphorous; hence, it is best not to collect antlers if you find them in the forest. Indeed, the antlers and velvet represent a veritable goldmine of nutrients for many animals. The antler itself is composed of various types of structural cells and there is an apparent negative correlation between calcium content and fat concentration along the antler calcium levels increase towards the base of the antler, whilst lipid concentrations are highest at the tip. The antlers and associated velvet contain many of the essential dietary elements including calcium, phosphorous, sulphur, magnesium, potassium, sodium and iron. The velvet itself contains various amino acids (sub-units of proteins) including all eight essential ones (i.e. those that are required in the diet and cant be synthesized by the animal).

For many decades scientists have hotly debated the function of deer antlers. The most widely accepted theory is that antlers evolved as weapons where deer compete for resources, predominantly (although not limited to) mates. In the first instance the antlers are a sign of fitness they require a considerable amount of energetic and nutritional expenditure to produce and a large antler set typically represents an animal in good condition, although theres an element of genetic control involved too. They can also be used by would-be interlopers to assess their chances in a fight and are used as physical weapons to both repel an attack from, and initiate a challenge to, a contender. Recent studies on moose in Europe have suggested that the antlers may also act as parabolic reflectors of sound, so moose with antlers have more sensitive hearing than those without. Logically, other species with palmate antlers (e.g. Fallow) may also gain a similar advantage.

Size and measurement

The spotted deer of India has a beautiful golden brown coat, which is covered with big white spots. On an average, a male deer (known as stag) grows to a shoulder height of somewhere between 85cm and 90cm. The weight of a stag averages around 80 kg. Does are shorter as well as lighter. The coat of an adult deer has brighter spots as compared to that of fawns. At the same time, the white throat patch of a stag is more prominent than that of a doe.

Breeding and Reproduction Chital do not have a clearly defined breeding season and young calves may be seen at any time of the year. Thorough investigation may establish a peak calving season; in India, this is said to occur during the months from October to December - April to June would be the Australian equivalent. Twin calves are seen more often than in most deer species but, generally, the hind will rear only one calf and may abandon the other weaker calf shortly after birth. The stags are aggressive and fight fiercely for possession of the hinds which are productive and capable of quickly increasing the population when habitat and conditions are suitable. The gestation period is about eight months.

Colors and markings

They have a rust coat with white spots, and they stay spotted all their life. In fact the spots on the adults are brighter and show more than their fawns'. They have a large, white throat patch which is more prominent in the males. Axis fawns look a lot like whitetail fawns, but one difference is that the axis have a black stripe down their backs, and the whitetail fawns do not.

Food & Feeding

Deer are omnivorous opportunists and will feed catholically on grasses, heather, lichen, shoots, bark, leaves, herbs, rushes, buds, nuts, fungi, fruit and berries; even holly and bramble. They are typically mixed concentrate feeders, which means they select young shoots, young foliage, fruits and other high quality foods from which they can extract bone-building nutrients; mixed comes from their ability to switch between grazing and browsing. Carnivorous tendencies have also been documented in some species, perhaps most notably in Red deer who make it into the 2007 Guinness Book of Records under the unenviable title of Most bloodthirsty ungulate! The type of food consumed depends as much on location and season as on species. Along with the more customary items in the diet, a range of inedible objects have also been recovered from deer digestive tracts; these include polythene bags, balloons, string and even a pair of disposable knickers! Unfortunately, these kind of objects can easily get stuck and cause a blockage. In her 1991 book Deer, Norma Chapman notes that a study of more than 80 Fallow deer stomachs collected in Essex found that they all contained at least one foreign object. Deer are ruminants, which means that they chew the cud -- indeed, ruminant stems from the Latin ruminatus, meaning to turn over in the mind or chew the cud -- where cud is thought to have roots in the Old

English cwidi, meaning what has been chewed. Moreover, deer are polyruminant, which means that they have multiple sections to their stomach four in the case of cervids. Starting at the oesophagus (throat), the chambers are named: the Rumen; the Reticulum; the Omasum; and the Abomasum, which empties into the small intestine.

Highly simplified representation of the deer stomach, showing sections in order from oesophagus (food in) to small intestine (chyme out)

Food passes down the oesophagus into the rumen, where it sits and becomes mixed with microbes. An expansion of the chest produces a vacuum in the upper rumen and allows some of the plant material to be sucked into the oesophagus, where peristaltic movements force a clump of cud (called a bolus) up into the mouth. When in the mouth, the bolus is pressed against the roof by the tongue and excess water is swallowed before chewing recommences. In his 2007 book Deer Watch, Richard Prior notes that cud chewing seems to be a relaxing activity for deer; they lie with eyes half-closed and a slight hiccup and ripple in the throat signals the re-arrival of a ball of food. Deer possess a brachyodont dentition, whereby the molars have low or short crowns and well-developed roots. In each side of a deers jaw the

three incisors and (in most species) canine are separated from the three premolars and three molars by a large gap; the crowns of the upper teeth fit neatly into the teeth of the lower jaw. The tooth arrangement, coupled with adaptations to the jaw musculature allows the lower tooth rows to move across the upper ones such that deer chew with a sweeping grinding [sideto-side] motion. This ensures the plant material is ground against the ridges of the molars and premolars (collectively termed the cheek teeth). The cheek teeth break up the cell walls, releasing the digestible contents, while the large molars serve as a mill on which to grind plant material into fine particles. The food is then re-swallowed. The grinding process serves to increase the surface area of the plant material available for the microbes in the rumen to work on, while the act of chewing stimulates saliva that acts as a buffer to the acid in the rumen (which must be kept within fairly tight limits of pH). At the same time, microorganisms are regurgitated with the cud and so become more thoroughly mixed with the digesta as its chewed. The process of chewing the cud also increases the effective length of the digestive tract, meaning that the microbes have longer to breakdown the plant material. Despite all this, overall, very little actual digestion takes place in the rumen (it is primarily a holding tank), although a reasonable amount of fatty acid are liberated from the food here; some authorities estimate that as much as 40% of the deers energy may be obtained by absorption of fatty acids and sugars from the fermentation of cellulose through the rumen wall.

Upon leaving the rumen, partially digested food (called chyme pronounced kime, from the Greek chymos, meaning juice) passes through into the reticulum, where it's strained it should be noted that the rumen and reticulum are considered the same functional space, because material can move back-and-forth between the two (for this reason, they are sometimes collectively referred to as the reticulorumen). The reticulum lining is covered with a framework of ridges, forming a honeycomb pattern and serving to increase the surface area over which volatile fatty acids can be absorbed. The reticulum is effectively a fermentation vat, containing what Rory Putman describes as a murky suspension of tiny food particles and micro-organisms in his The Natural History of Deer. Within the reticulum sits the ruminal mat, which is a thick mass of partially-digested fibrous material. As material is regurgitated and re-swallowed, there comes a point where the particles are sufficiently small and dense to pass down through the mat into the ventral sac and from there through the reticulo-omasal orifice into the third section: the omasum. The omasum has a heavily-folded lining allowing for between 60% and 70% of the water to be absorbed, along with inorganic minerals (e.g. magnesium) and any fatty acids that havent entered the bloodstream through the reticulorumen. It seems that larger particles can be pushed back into the reticulum for further digestion, should they make it through the reticulo-omasal orifice. From the omasum, the chyme moves into the fourth, and final, chamber: the abomasum. It is in the abomasum that the majority of digestion takes place and where gastric juices (including hydrochloric acid) are secreted this section is often referred to as the true stomach because it is the equivalent of the

stomach in monogastric animals, such as humans. As such, the digestion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins progresses as it does in other vertebrates and the products are sequestered into the bloodstream. The epithelium (lining) of the abomasum has gastric pits called "foveolae" with gastric glands underneath them, that contain hydrochloric acid-producing parietal and zymogenic cells (that make digestive juices), similar to our stomachs. The majority of saccharides (produced from breaking down of sugars and starches), amino acids and peptides (break down products of proteins) are taken up by the microorganisms doing all the work in the rumen and put towards their growth and multiplication. As the microbial population grows, some invariably get washed out of the reticulorumen with the chyme, where theyre killed by the abrupt change in acidity and are digested it is estimated that up to 90% of the animals amino acids are obtained in this way (the microbes also represent an important source of glucose in starchpoor diets). Deer are thus sometimes said to farm microorganisms and obtain their essential amino acids by digesting the microbes leaving the reticulorumen. The food finally passes out of the stomach and into the small, and then large, intestine where further digestion and absorption takes place. So, why do deer need such an elaborate digestive system? Well, unsurprisingly, the answer lies in the type of food they eat: plant material. No mammals are able to efficiently break down plant matter; we dont have the correct enzymes for the job. Consequently, when we eat fruit and vegetables, all we can get out are goodies in the liquid contents of the cell unfortunately, this represents only about 20% of the total energy contained in the material because most is bound within the fibrous cell wall. The cell wall of plants consists of four main

compounds: cellulose; hemicellulose; lignin; and pectin. Thus, in order to get at this energy (in the form of proteins, fats and sugars), wed need to be able to break down both the tissue itself and the polymers (long-chained molecules) that make it up. The problem is that, while the tissue itself can be broken down fairly effectively by chewing, the aforementioned compounds are tough and not at all easy to digest. As we have seen, deer (and other ruminants) maintain populations of microorganisms in their stomachs, which can breakdown the cellulose and other structural compounds to release fatty acids, amino acids, peptides, sugars and various simple nitrogenous compounds (e.g. ammonia) that the deer can absorb and use for energy. Using microbes in this way is referred to as syntrophism. This syntrophic arrangement with the bacteria and protozoa make ruminants some of the most effective animals on the planet at converting the polysaccharides (long-chained sugars) in grass to protein (i.e. tissue mass). So effective is the process that ruminants can access between 50% and 60% of the total energy contained within the plant material. What this means in practice is that deer are able to take advantage of nutritious young herbage, but are also able to make the best of even low quality forage. Obtaining essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals via digestion of microbes means that ruminants can divvy up resources to a much finer scale, allowing species to specialise on a narrow range of plants. Additionally, by making use of a storage vat (the rumen), deer can eat considerable quantities at a single sitting and retire to a safer spot (i.e. away from predators) to digest the meal. The process of rumination is certainly a good way of utilising the energy available in the structural tissue of plants. However, it is not without its disadvantages. Efficient utilisation of cellulose takes time and to get access to 60% of the bound-up sugars may take up to 80 hours, which means the animal must feed almost constantly and is forced to accept lower quality forage; high quality browse/graze is likely to be patchy and with digestion times of this length, the animal cant afford to spend the time searching for them. Deer typically have small rumens, which allows for faster digestive throughput -- meaning they can feed less often and spend more time searching out good quality food -- but at the price of a less

efficient digestion of cellulose. As we shall see in a moment, a further disadvantage of this type of digestive system is that it becomes highly fooddependent the microbial community in the stomach is tailored to digest specific types of plant material, which means that deer cannot rapidly switch foods. I have used the term microorganisms repeatedly in this section as an umbrella term for all the microscopic critters that work to break down plant material eaten by deer. However, there are actually five groups present in the reticulorumen. Collectively, bacteria and protozoa account for 40% to 60% of the microbial mass and, while bacteria do most of the digesting, the protozoa eat the plant material and degrade the major plant parts; protozoa also help maintain the gut bacteria population by grazing on them. In recent years, there has been much research on the microbial communities of ruminants and there are now in excess of 50 genera known from ruminant digestive tracts. Along with bacteria and protozoa are fungi, which make up about 0% to 10% of the microbes, depending upon the fibre in the diet, and are important digesters of lignin and hemicellulose. Archaea (about 3% of the microbes) serve to reduce gaseous buildup by converting methane to carbon dioxide, which can be transported in the blood to the lungs for removal methane must be eructated, or belched out. Finally, there are the viruses, which arent involved in the digestion of plant matter, but to help keep the other microbes in check. It seems that gut microbes can be inoculated (introduced) into the neonate (newborn) rumen through various processes. Charles Robbins, now at Washington State University, reported in his 1983 book Wildlife Feeding and Nutrition, that inoculation of bacteria into the rumen of newborn ruminants is often dependant on the feed

ingested by the mother during suckling and the contact the young has with its mothers faeces. Overall, the microbial community fluctuates with the diet of the host different microbes are required to breakdown different types of plants. Consequently, a ruminant eating grass as the staple of its diet may have different gut microbes to one that feeds primarily on browse, which poses a problem should either animal find its food source gone. A ruminant that has spent all summer feeding on grass will not have the microbial flora and fauna needed to digest woody material. Unfortunately, the animal doesnt know what types of microbes it has in its rumen and so will usually eat unsuitable foods if presented with the opportunity (especially if its normal food is scarce). One additional curiosity of the deer digestive system is the lack of a gall bladder. In most mammals, the gall bladder produces bile salts that act to emulsify and break down fats. Some authors have postulated that, because plant material is typically low in fats and the fatty acids released by microbial digestion can be absorbed through the reticulorumen, the need for fat digestion is no longer present. Finally, let us take a moment to consider the need for water. Deer do drink (muntjacs are rarely found far from water), but most of the water is supplied in their food. Moreover, ruminants have a highly efficient water conservation technique linked to their ammonia cycle. Simply put, the fermentation of protein leads to the production of ammonia, which is transferred (via the bloodstream) to the liver and converted to the less toxic waste product urea; the urea is then transferred back to the stomach where it is assimilated (i.e. used as food) by the microbes. The recycling of urea in this way means that it doesnt have to be sequestered from the bloodstream (by the kidneys) and diluted with water to be excreted in urine this saves a considerable amount of water. Feeding behaviour typically cycles between periods of grazing/browsing and ruminating. There are peaks in the feeding behaviour at dawn and dusk and much rumination takes place during daylight hours. More specific details can be found under the Activity section of the individual species profiles.

Reproduction and development

Deer mating patterns usually involve a dozen or more mating attempts before the first successful one. There may be several more matings before the stag will seek out another mate in his harem. Females in their second autumn can produce one and very rarely two offspring per year. The gestation period is 240 and 262 days and the offspring weigh about 15 kg (33 lb). After two weeks, fawns are able to join the herd and are fully weaned after two months. All red deer fawns are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and lose their spots by the end of summer. However, as in many species of Old World Deer, some adults do retain a few spots on the backs of their summer coats. The offspring will remain with the

ir mothers for almost one full year, leaving around the time that the next season offspring are produced. The gestation period is the same for all subspecies.

The mating season, known as the rut, usually begins in October and lasts about a month, although mating can take place at any time from September to February. At this time the bucks are very active and each one tries to herd together a group of does into his territory. Each buck marks his territory by scraping the soil with his hooves and antlers, urinating and rubbing his head against saplings, fraying the bark. He also thrashes his antlers against branches and bushes, and struts up and down, bellowing loudly. The intention of all this performance is to attract and mate with as many females as possible within his territory. Rival bucks fight fiercely, charging and clashing their antlers until one gives up injured or defeated and the other takes over the harem.


When DEER breeds

As deer farmers, we are usually prepared for breeding far in advance of the rut, however most producers never see it happen. Perhaps it doesn't even really matter to some, but being a serious deer hunter for over 20 years, I have always been intrigued by the activities surrounding the breeding season. The best time to harvest a trophy buck is during the peak of the rut, but how do we know when that is? We all know that deer breed in November and that fawns are born in late May or June, but to increase my hunting success, I felt compelled to pinpoint the dates and

triggers more precisely. Over the years I have researched this topic and observed the deer in the wild. My findings are not based on scientific studies but more of a collection of ideas, theories and gut feelings. What I have discovered is both

interesting and complex. As deer have evolved, Mother Nature has played an important role in the timing of the deer breeding season. A properly timed rut results in a high fawn survival rate and ultimately in the survival of the species. Historically, Western Canada's climate conditions can be extreme and the deer have adapted to a narrow fawning window. When fawns are born too early, the weather conditions can still be very harsh. When fawns are born too late, they will not have enough time to build their strength for the first winter. Over the centuries, the deer have developed internal clocks to ensure fawns are born at the ideal time. This fawning window remains consistent from year to year and studies have shown that deer which are moved from one region to another will adapt to their new timing window. The gestation period for deer is approximately 200 days and although not all fawns are born at exactly the same time, most are born within a two-week time period. So, what factors trigger the rut and the internal clocks of the deer? I believe there are four main factors which influence the timing of the rut.

Length of the Day Moon Phases Weather Herd Condition.

These factors do not work independently, but when combined they trigger and determine the breeding cycle. Length of Day The length of the day is probably the single most overriding factor in deer breeding. It determines the ideal 200-day time frame for deer breeding and fawning. It remains constant from year to year and it becomes the deer's internal clock and calendar. The first day of summer (June 21st) has the most amount of daylight and the first day of winter (Dec. 22nd) has the least. As the length of the day changes throughout the year, the seasons also change and this triggers the deers' annual life cycle events such as shedding velvet, dropping antlers and breeding. In Western Canada this ideal time frame falls between the second and third week of November. When the deer are bred during this ideal time window, the fawns are born during the maximum survival window. Why does light play such an important part of deer breeding? Recent studies indicate the amount of light, or lack of it, directly affects the levels of melatonin in the does. The bucks are ready to breed as early as September, however they must wait for the does to come into estrus before breeding can commence. Melatonin is a sleep inducer and in deer it stimulates the estrus levels and dictates breeding time. The more light there is, the less melatonin is produced and this, in turn, causes the does to come into estrus. Moonlight Daylight plays the most important role in determining the rut, however the other source of light, moonlight, also plays a role. Moonlight is the most complex and often misunderstood factor in the timing of the rut. A complete book could be written on the theories of its affect on breeding. Moonlight cannot be the single factor in determining the rut because the moon phases fall on different dates each year. Basically, the amount of moonlight tends to sway the peak rutting time from one end of the ideal window to the other. A full moon provides more light at night, which stimulates increased deer activity, however it decreases the amount of melatonin level in the does. This lack of melatonin causes the does to come into estrus. This is the reason many believe the rut occurs right after the full moon. In ideal circumstances this is correct, however, when the full moon is later in the month, such as in 1999, the rut will occur prior to the full moon but its pulled slightly later in the ideal window. The full moon has a greater affect on breeding when it is earlier in the month than when it is later. It also

determines the intensity of the rut. If the full moon falls earlier in the month, the peak of the rut will occur earlier within the ideal time window and then taper off. If the full moon occurs later, the rut will begin slower and peak towards the end of the ideal window. If the full moon occurs directly within the window, the rut will be more obvious and intense. To a hunter, this is the ideal situation. If the rut is intense, the bucks become mesmerized with only one thing on their minds. They will tend to let down their guard and become more careless in their behavior and movement. More trophy deer are harvested because of errors made on the bucks' part during this intense time, not because of the skill of the hunter. Weather The third factor affecting the rut is extreme weather conditions. Although this is not one of the most important factors, it can play a part. Long periods of weather that is either too warm, too cold, or too windy, can affect the rutting activity. Most breeding occurs at night when the weather is cooler and the deer are most comfortable in their winter coats. This is why it is a very rare occurrence to actually witness the breeding process.

Herd Condition
Finally, herd condition plays a role in the timing of the breeding. As deer farmers this is the only factor we have control over. Making sure the does are in the best possible condition is of utmost importance to the development of their winter coats. Without these winter coats, their chance of surviving the winter ahead is greatly reduced. As well, does which have had late fawns the previous year, may not be in optimum condition to breed in the first cycle and may not come into estrus until the second cycle, in December. When this occurs, the fawns are born late again in the following year and once established, this late breeding cycle can be difficult to correct. In conclusion, the factors affecting the rut must all come together like pieces in a puzzle. When one or more pieces do not fit properly, the puzzle is incomplete and breeding times are altered. The biggest piece in the puzzle is the amount of light, which determines the ideal timing window. The next biggest piece is the moonlight, which pinpoints the exact time within the window. Weather and herd condition are the remaining pieces which finish the puzzle. In order to complete the deer breeding puzzle, you must have all the pieces. Under ideal circumstances, all the puzzle pieces will fit exactly. When they don't fit exactly, your herd's reproductive abilities can be adversely affected.


Adult males (stags or bucks - see table below) of all five species of deer referred to here are easily separated from adult females (does or hinds see table) during the breeding (rutting) season by the presence of antlers. From birth, the pedicles from which antlers will grow begin to develop in males and from about 10 months old appendages easily identifiable as antlers can be seen. There are cases where females develop antlers (e.g. in older Roe does) -- but these tend to be rather small and unbranched -- and where males fail to develop antlers (these are called hummels or Notts, varying geographically). Additionally, the males of some species (e.g. Red and Fallow) develop prominent prominentia laryngea (Adams apple) and manes during the breeding season. Males also exhibit a hair-covered penis sheath. Males of all five species are typically larger and heavier than females, although this can be difficult to assess without some basis for comparison. In some species there are additional features that can be used to sex an individual in Roe, for example, does have a tuft of hair at the base of the rump that is absent in bucks. The sexes of most species spend much of the year apart, coming together during the breeding season.

Deer Penis

In traditional Chinese medicine, a deer penis (Chinese: ) is said to have important therapeutic properties. Deer penis and powdered deer penis is commonly sold in Chinese pharmacies. Like turtle's blood and penis, deer penis is also popular in Taiwan and is one of the "delicacies" served in large jars in Snake Alley, Taipei. It is also served on the Chinese mainland in restaurants such as the Guo Li Zhuang. The deer penis is typically very large and, proponents claim, for it to retain its properties it must be extracted from the deer whilst still alive.Often it is then sliced into small pieces, typically by women and then roasted and dried in the sun and then preserved while the deer looks on. The tradition of consuming the penis of the animal is not just related to Chinese history. The ancient Romans were known to consume the anatomy of a number of different animals for their purported health benefits.[5] The Mayans were also known to extract the penis of the deer and to roast it.Hippocrates recommended consuming deer penis to resolve sexual difficulties. During the 2008 Summer Olympics, the country banned deer penis, turtle blood, and angelica root potions from athletes' diets. This is because according to traditional Chinese medicine, deer penis, especially if ingested while soaked in alcohol (deer penis wine), is an effective remedy for athletic injuries. Chinese Olympic officials advised national athletes not to take the traditional remedy because it may contain some banned substances like the stimulant herbal ephedrine. It joined steroids and amphetamines on the list of banned substances. The penis of a deer or tiger when consumed is also said to enhance male virility and is an aphrodisiac. Deer penis wine can be sold at $12 a glass and often as high as $450 for a two litre bottle.Deer-antler wine, known as Lurongjiu, is also said to enhance sexual potency in men and to have a warming effect, aiding the joints.The penis of a deer, turtle or bull is also consumed in restaurants and

in Singapore is known to also be offered as a soup delicacy. In Angang, Taiwan, women are reported as consuming deer penis during pregnancy as it is said to have a fattening effect and to make the mother and child stronger.


The subject of how deer perceive their visual world has been the object of much interest in recent years. The anatomy of a deers eye follows the same basic scheme as those of other vertebrates, although there are some subtle differences one relates to the UV filtering ability of the lens, which we shall come to shortly. Deer eyes have an oval (i.e. slot-shaped) pupil that is orientated laterally, such that the pupil runs parallel to the horizon; this may help the deer focus on the entire horizon at once, rather than relying on the spot-focus afforded by a circular pupil (as humans have). Behind the retina -- in the choroid (or vascular) layer -- is a layer of reflective cells common to all nocturnal mammals, collectively called the tapetum lucidum (from the Latin meaning bright carpet). The tapetum cells reflect light back into the eyeball that would otherwise be lost into the skull, thereby increasing the amount of light the eye can use. The tapetum is also responsible for the eye-shine familiar to hunters and often unfortunate car drivers; in deer, the eyeshine is typically orange, although the effect is a form of iridescence, so the colour will vary according to the angle of the light. The eyes of deer are situated at either side of the head, which gives the animal a wide field of view. In his fascinating 2006 book Deer of the Southwest, Arizona Fish and Game Department biologist Jim Heffelfinger writes: A deers eyes are set on the side of the head, allowing them to monitor almost a complete circle (310o). The visual field of 310 degrees seems in accordance with other ungulates: horses, for example, have a visual field of some 350 degrees to put that in perspective, humans have a visual field of about 180o. The drawback to having the eyes situated on the side of the head is that you lose binocular vision, which means severely limited depth perception. For deer, it seems reasonable that being able to see whats sneaking up from pretty much any angle would be of greater benefit than being able to accurately judge how far away the sneaker is.

a Jacobs and colleagues at the University of Georgia in Athens published a paper in the Journal of Comparative Physiology detailing aspects of the retinal sensitivity of Fallow and White-tailed deer. Professor Jacobs and his co-workers found that these species had both rod and cone cells the rod pigments had a maximum sensitivity (called a lambda max) at 497 nm, which is in the blue spectrum. The biologists found two types of cone cells or, more accurately, cone cells that had one of two different pigments in them: one had short wavelength sensitivity (450 460 nm, again in the blue) and the other had sensitivity in the middle wavelengths (537 nm for White-tailed and 542 nm for Fallow, these are in the green part of the spectrum). So, it seems that these deer are able to detect colours in the blue-green part of the electromagnetic spectrum (similar to a human with deuteranopia, or red-green colour blindness), and that the rod cells may help the deer discriminate between shades of these colours. These findings are not a surprise to most biologists deer are predominantly active from dusk until dawn and an ability to discern blue light is a great aid to low light vision.

Perhaps more interesting than deer being able to discern hues of blue and green is their vision in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. While dissection of the deer eye reveals a granula iridica (sometimes called corpus

nigrans a projection of the iris into the eye that acts as something of a sunshade to reduce glare in bright light), deer dont appear to possess a UV filter. Adult humans, who arent aphakic (have a missing or damaged lens), cannot see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (10 400 nm); the human lens contains UV filters (most notably 3-hydroxykynurenine, or 3OHKyn for short) that prevent light of this wavelength entering the eye. Deer, by contrast, dont have this yellow pigment, which suggests that they may be sensitive to ultraviolet light. Indeed, an entire industry has sprung up in America offering hunters washing powder that doesnt leave particles on the clothing that would otherwise reflect UV and make the person positively glow. I should mention that there is still some debate over this idea; Prof. Jacobs and his team failed to find any significant response of their deer retinas to UV light.

The electromagnetic spectrum. The visible spectrum (highlighted green above) sits between the ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) wavelengths and is shown expanded above the main spectrograph. Visible light roughly covers the wavelengths of between 380nm and 750nm. Graphic based on various sources, including the Antonine Education Website. Click Image to Enlarge.

As youll no doubt have noticed by now, most of the experiments to-date have involved analysis of the deers retina, which runs the potential risk of

overlooking rare cone cells. Perhaps more importantly, the mere presence of cone cells on the retina tells us nothing of the deers ability to apply any colour vision they may afford. In a bid to circumvent some of these problems, a team at Stockholm Universitys Zoology Department took a different approach. The researchers, fronted by Bjorn Birgersson, assessed the colour vision of Fallow deer through a series of behavioural tests; their results were published in the journal Animal Behaviour during 2001. The team found that all four individuals were able to discriminate green from grey, irrespective of brightness. It appears that Fallow deer can use limited (dichromatic) colour vision to discriminate between objects, by generalizing over slightly different colours in the green spectrum. The scientists suggest that blue/green-shifted colour vision may be useful in discriminating between different plant species or different parts of plants that might be of variable nutritional (or toxic) value. The results of the 2001 study seem to fall in line with circumstantial evidence of colour perception in deer. In his 1995 book, Roe Deer: Conservation of a native species, Richard Prior recounts some fascinating stories of the visual acuity of Capreolus capreolus. Mr Prior tells of one captive Roe that reacted to the different coloured coats worn by its keeper; it paid no attention to a blue coat, but fled crying in fear when the keeper wore a red coat. In addition, Mr Prior notes how, over the years, many Roe keepers and stalkers have become convinced that this species is able to recognise familiar clothing. In the end, however good one considers deer vision to be, I think that Richard Prior sums the situation up succinctly in his Deer Watch book. In this fascinating guide to deer and deer stalking, Mr Prior points out that deer flee through often dense woodland, so their eyesight cant be that poor.

Olfaction (Smell)
Most professional deer stalkers will tell you how difficult it is to gain an appreciation of how sensitive a deers sense of smell is while searching for deer, the slightest change in wind direction or air eddy in the forest can scupper your chances for the rest of the day. The problem is compounded by the fact that humans typically have a very poor sense of smell. Sadly, in the same way that studies on the visual capabilities of deer have only been conducted on a few species, studies on cervid olfaction are similarly restrictive. We can gain an insight to the importance of scent in a deers world by looking at the structure of the animals brain in conjunction with that of its nasal cavity. Deer have larger olfactory bulbs (the scentprocessing parts of the brain) than we do; they also possess a considerably greater surface area of olfactory epithelium than humans. In a study of the olfactory epithelium of the Roe deer published in 1975, German anatomist Albert Kolb found that the average area of olfactory epithelium was 90 cm2(14 in2) if we compare that to an adult human, which typically has about 10 cm2 (1.6 in2), we can see that a Roe deers sense of smell is potentially nine-times more sensitive than ours. Coupled with larger bulbs and increased epithelial area, deer also have a long nasal passage, terminating in a moist rhinarium (nose). A moist nose helps improve the sense of smell; volatile scent particles stick more easily to wet noses, while the side of the nose being cooled by the prevailing wind helps the animal establish the direction from which the scent has come. Studies in domestic dogs have found that wet mucus on the nose can also help to pre-sort odour molecules hitting the nose, by slowing down their passage into the nasal canal.

Early behavioural studies also attest to the ability of deer to find and assess food by smell. In 1934, Joseph Dixon published a paper in the journal California Fish and Game detailing the results of his studies on the food habits and life history of Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in California. Dr Dixon found that his subjects were able to tell good acorns from those with worm infections and those that were hollow by smell alone. Similarly, in a 1977 special report of Arizona Game and Fish Department, Theodore Knipe described how White-tailed deer were able to locate oak leaves and acorns under several inches of snow using cues that could only have been olfactory. In addition to the main nasal process, deer have another scent-detecting gland -- sometimes referred to as their second nose -called the vomeronasal organ (often shortened simply to VNO). The VNO was first described by Danish anatomist Ludvig Jacobson (as such it is sometimes referred to as the "Jacob's Organ") in 1813 and, in deer, it takes the form of a diamond-shaped lump of tissue at the roof of the mouth. The nerves run from the VNO, along the nasal septum, to the vomeronasal bulb (sometimes called the 'accessory olfactory bulb'), which contains the same type of sensory cells as the main olfactory bulb. The VNO is considered to play a role in assessing the sexual readiness of deer and perhaps helping to sync the male's reproductive condition to that of the nearby females. It is certainly interesting that the brain connections for the nasal and VNO nerves are apparently different. As University of Georgia deer biologist Karl Miller points out in his Deer Talk With Their Noses article, the VNO connects to the part of the brain that controls the reproductive condition of the deer, rather than connecting to the same part as the nasal passage. Studies on White-tailed deer have shown that, although the VNO is used to sample urine in order to assess a female's impending oestrous, even if the organ is removed, the deer are still able to tell when a female is in season. This is in contrast to many other studies that have shown how a damaged or missing VNO can lead to suppression of reproductive activity this was first demonstrated in 1953 with male guinea pigs, which failed to mount females when the VNO was impaired. The male deer samples the

female's urine using a flehmen response, where he curls his upper lip and lifts his head up into contact with the urine stream the animal may also wrinkle its nose and cease breathing for a moment. Flehmen is frequently observed in rutting deer, but is common among the ungulates and other mammals, including cats. It is theorised that the act of flehmen serves to move fluid-based pheromones (i.e. in the urine or vaginal secretions) from the mouth to the VNO. In his 'Deer Talk' article, Dr Miller notes that "Deer use the VNO exclusively to analyze urine".

Audiology (Hearing)
In his 1995 book The Roe Deer, Richard Prior draws attention to Capreolus having large ears constantly moving. Indeed, even when their owner is at rest, a deers ears are scanning for any unrecognised sounds. The ears of a deer are highly (and independently) mobile and can be rotated almost 180 degrees; at the same time, their large size and cupped structure allows for the efficient gathering of sound waves. Despite the observations we can make on the physical characteristics of deer ears, data on hearing thresholds are somewhat lacking as before, where we have data they generally pertain to the White-tailed deer. In a series of experiments on handreared White-tailed deer held at Texas A&M Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, biologists sought to establish the hearing frequencies in order to assess the effectiveness of whistles as deer deterrents (see Interaction with Humans). The study, led by Ken Risenhoover, measured what are called evoked potentials these are electrical responses of nerves to a stimulus, so they wire the deer up to an audiograph and play pings of varying frequencies and volumes to it through headphones. From these data it appears that the deer had the greatest hearing sensitivity between 1 and 8 kHz, with a peak sensitivity at 4 kHz and a range from 0.5 to 12 kHz (at 85 dB). In the summary of results on his website, Dr Risenhoover notes recorded deer vocalizations

reported from the literature range between 1 and 9 kHz, so the main hearing sensitivity ties in quite nicely with the call frequency data. A similar study, led by Gino DAngelo at the University of Georgia and published in the Journal of Wildlife Management during 2007, found their White-tailed deer were able to hear in the range of 0.25 to 30 kHz, with peak sensitivity between 4 and 8 kHz. These findings compare favourably both to Dr Risenhoovers data and to a study of Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) published by Kjetil Flydal and colleagues in 2001, which found that this species could detect sounds within the range of 70 Hz to 38 kHz, with a peak sensitivity at 8 kHz. So, the upshot of these studies is that deer have a hearing range similar to that of humans (typically 20 Hz to 20 kHz), but with the ability to detect sounds within the low ultrasonic (20 kHz and above).


We started by taking the pictures of our character Deer at the Zoo. We shot some videos for reference. Then as a modeller I needed some more images showing each and every part of deer in detail. So I collected as many references I could from internet for eyes, mouth, legs and body. Then to know the shapes properly, I collected images of skeleton.

For the model sheet I used images as reference for getting front and profile views for head...

I used this image from body modelling.

I started with eye and started modeling face......

Then I moved on to the placements of ear and antlers parts of part of deer.

Then I moved on to model the ear.

As modeling the part was done, I started modeling the antler part.

Then I completed the antlers part.

Now as the face is done.

Then I started to model the body of the deer.

Now I completed the body, except the foot part.

Now I started modelling foot part.

Now the both front and back foot part is done.

And then finally I merged the face and the body at last. Before proceeding the model to unwrap.

Wireframe of the model Front Profile

Wireframe of the model Profile view

Wirefarme of the model Top View

Now the model was almost done.

Now i exported the model as .obj then for unwraping the model i used Headus uv Layout,where i imported the .obj file and unwrappd the model.I used 2 uv sets for body and face and transferred the attributes to maya model.

This the uv layout in Maya.

TEXTURING Now the model was ready with uv's unwrapped.Then i went through the basic checklist and sent it for rigging and skinning. As the rigging part was started i started the texturing part.Initially i broke up the body into 2 parts Head and body based on the 2 uv sets and exported each of them as .obj. I used Mudbox for texturing.Now i started preparing stencils for the body by taking collecting reference images.

I used this stencil for lite fur type tex all over the body.

I used this stencil for lite fur type texture all over the face.

After the stencils were done i started sculpting the body for lite fur texture all over the body.

After the Body was done i started sculpting the face part for fur texture and nose details.

After scuplting i went through coloring part part of deer which is most tricky part to give liveness to the model.

Now i have colored head part also.

After the coloring part is for body and face, I went through coloring spots which gives beauty to my Spotted Deer

These are images after my coloring part was done.

TEXTURE MAPS After the texturing was done, the Normal map, Diffuse map, Displacement map, and the Vector Displacement maps are extracted from mud box. Example: Diffuse map of Body and map of Face



Then after all the maps are extracted, I imported them into Maya using the shading network where all the maps are connected to their respective shaders. So now the model was finally ready with all the textures and was ready for lighting.


Interesting About Rigging:

First thing i studied anatomy and i went Kanah National Park, Nehru zoo park, & i visited Mrigavani National Park to study the anatomy & behavior I passionate about rig I completed rig within week

Problem faced while Rigging:

While Skinning the neck part of the character i faced the deformation problems . to get rid of that i changed the rig again and done the skinning . i faced some more problems near,hip,tail,legs .but through component editor and hammer tool i managed the skin.

Part of animation:
There are no interesting things in animation I take help from my friends because my specialization in rigging but i tried well

Conclusion :
I learned many things in this project that I don't know in real world I Have seen the partiality between people I really hurted that the people don't know the situation barking like a dog on me I enjoyed the production process

Purna Chander Sudhara Shooting We actually planned to shoot our location in dense forest, so we took a trip to Vikarabad without realizing that it is summer. Our experience during the shoot was very disappointing.

Actual forest(Internet)

During Summer

So we decided to shoot at Mahabubnagar because thre is this area called Pillamari which is green all over the year.Even though its very far we took the risk to get a better output we waited all day to get perfect

lighting for the HDRI. We didnt want to take chances so we have tested the images on spot.Satisfied with our shoot, we returned back. Shooting HDRI : We have taken PANOHEAD tripod to shoot HDRI we waited for hours to shoot because of sudden climatic situations, we carried laptop to the location to check HDRI, we taken three times to get good lighting and detailing.

MatchMove We divided shots as per requirment of our story board. Little did we notice that our first shot was completely out of focus the rest of the shots really good We had a real challenge to track first shot.Solution for this shot was Geometry tracking. Software used: PF Track Maya There was a slight problem in second shot at the end of the pan. As we both VFX artists are specilazed in lighting and compositing we took help from a matchmove specilst. Our shot was thus solved.Now both the shots have been matchmoved we exported it to maya we created mesh for the ground and the tree trunk for the shadows



Rotoscopy : In second shot Deer jumps on branch and it goes behind a small branch , so we made roto for two branches we used software Fusion to do rotoscopy

Checking HDRI: We got HDRI of the loaction so we placed Lambert, Blinn and surfaceshader to check HDRI we are happy to see the out put but its taking time to render so we went for sIBL.

Lighting : We taken single images from each shot to do lighting. The HDRI taken on the location was perfect so thats the reason we opted for image based lighting (IBL), but IBL taking time to render so we opted for sIBL its a plug-in downloaded from net and we used it but because of some image loading problems we thought to go for manual lighting and we render files with manual lighting for first look to match the footage but at last our sir Mr. Chaithnaya helped us to understand the concept of sIBL . at last we used sIBL for rendering

Few samples of First look of our project with Modeling, lighting, texturing and fur

These are the some of the images after changing the Texture

Fur : Chital deer contains heavy fur at the ears and at tail to get the out we installed plug in called SHAVE&HAIRCUT to get the exact flow we build curves along the model but we are unable to get exact output because of our machines and some of problems with the flow These are the some of the sample of FUR

Because of these problems and our dead line time to submit we avoided fur in final render .

Rendering : As our Firstshot contains 250 frames and our second shot contains 150to 400 frames We first kept rendering in two systems we use container to get the multiple passes Occlusion,Color,Shadow,Masterbeauty,Fresnal,Light pass,RGB matte, Specular Later we went for DEADSLAVE to render, it completd in just 2 hrs.


These is the final picture of our project, We used Fusion , After Effects, and premire to get the final output

Conclusion : We started our project with passion, we enjoyed at shooting times , we gained more knowledge in using HDRI and sIBL and rendering Multiple passes and compositin,complete our project in time with partial satisfaction .