European Red Deer

QUICK FACTS

Scientific Name

Cervus elaphus

Species Survival Plan

No

Habitat

Forest

Predators

Fox, golden eagle, wolf, lynx, European brown bear and man

Food

Buds, wheat, oats, carrots, beets, apples, grasses and dwarf shrubs

Originally Native To

Europe

Height

54 inches at shoulder

Weight

300 - 800 lb.

Characteristics

Large deer; males with antlers that can measure 36 inches in length and weigh 20 lb.

Gestation Period

9 months

Offspring

1 fawn

Birth Season

Late May to July

Lifespan

Wild 15 - 20 years
Captivity 26 years

Social Behavior

Very gregarious

iucn_badge_least_concern

ABOUT European Red Deer

European red deer are closely related to American elk, but are smaller in size. They are the largest deer at Fossil Rim.

They have existed since at least the end of the last Ice Age. Prehistoric remains of red deer show them to have been considerably larger than present-day animals. Antlers with up to 22 points have been discovered preserved in peat bogs.

The rutting season takes place from the first of September to the middle of October, during which time there are fierce fights between the males. A male will “bugle” during the rut; this mating call is also a warning for other males to stay away from his harem. This unique song can be heard over a half-mile away.

A challenge to a harem-holding stag begins with him and the rival roaring repeatedly for 10-20 minutes. If the rival is out-roared by the stag, he will usually back down at this stage. If not, a fight between them will ensue.

The dominant stag then gathers a harem of females near water. While the stag eats nothing during the rutting season, he needs to drink constantly. After mating season, he sheds his antlers and joins the male herd.

ANYTHING YOU GIVE HELPS THE ANIMALS

As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.