Some male animals exhibit homosexual tendencies. While homosexuality itself isn’t harmful to the species, it does pose problems when trying to establish hierarchy among males. Male deer are commonly monogamous. Female deer mate with multiple partners to ensure genetic diversity. Both sexes shed their skin after giving birth. When hunting time comes along, adult bucks become fiercely competitive and resort to fighting to win dominance over rival males. This battle royale takes place in springtime and can continue for days without end.
Now let’s look at winter range, summer range and spring range. Winter range refers to the places where these animals spend their coldest seasons. Summer range describes the locations where these animals live year round. Spring range refers to the areas where they congregate during breeding season.
Blackbuck Deer Habits and Habitats
Found exclusively in Africa, South Asia and Australia, blackbucks inhabit arid regions consisting mostly of scrubland, thornbush and desert grasslands. They weigh anywhere from 90 pounds to 180 pounds (40 kilograms to 80 kilograms).
Blackbuck are short compared to whitetails, averaging 5 feet tall (1.5 meters), though their necks are longer. A characteristic feature unique to blackbucks is their long ear tufts extending outward from their ears. Unlike other deer, they possess preorbital glands located above their eyes that produce a secretion used to mark territories.
Blackbucks have flat noses and prominent cheekbones.Their upper lips hang below their lower lips creating a snout effect similar to a camel. Antlers grow back to full length after shedding annually. They reach maximum weights of 200 pounds (90 kg) and 400 pounds (180 kg).
They’re primarily nocturnal hunters. During daytime rest periods, they sleep standing upright in groups. At nightfall, they graze on low shrubs and herbs. Feeding sessions occur frequently at dusk. Also known as kudu due to their elongated snouts, blackbucks walk gracefully and quickly with smooth strides that allow them to travel in herds numbering in the hundreds.
Typically, they follow trails made by other blackbucks. They’re notorious for causing damage to crops and farm buildings. To avoid conflict, farmers must erect fences to separate fields containing valuable wheat, barley and corn. Other methods used to control blackbucks include building barriers topped with steel wire and electrified fencing. Due to competition with ranchers, blackbuck populations have decreased significantly in recent years.
Since 1973, fewer than 1 million blackbucks exist today. Of these, approximately 350,000 are native to Southern African countries Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia. Within their respective ranges, they number between 50 and 60 individuals per square kilometer.
With continued population decline, blackbuck numbers are now regulated by government conservation programs. In 2003, Tanzania passed legislation protecting blackbuck from poachers. In 2004, South African National Parks launched Operation Tusks, an initiative aimed at controlling blackbuck poaching.
Although less popular than other varieties of deer, blackbuck still represent an interesting alternative to whitetail. Let’s next examine the differences between male blackbuds and male whitetails.
Like female whitetails, male blackbucks mature faster than females. Adult males begin exhibiting sexual characteristics sometime between age three and four. By age seven, males develop antlers that remain attached to bone tissue for eight years. Compared to females, males undergo antler growth spurts later in life. An average lifespan for a male blackbuck is 10 to 12 years.
Though taller than females, male blackbucks stand shorter than females. Since antlers aren’t developed until age four, males lack functional points for defense against predators. Instead, older males rely on strength and speed to ward off threats. Like female blackbucks, males leave behind scrapes in the dirt indicating territory boundaries. Scrape pits are created by rubbing the ground upward with their antlers.
Although territorial disputes do occasionally arise between males, fights involving aggression are rare. Instead, males engage in head-butting displays designed solely to intimidate rivals. Head-butting occurs mainly between males whose territories border each other. Despite lacking sharpened teeth, males fight aggressively in order to gain access to females. Dominance hierarchies are established by males vying for positions atop harems composed of females.
As previously noted, female blackbucks experience estrous cycles lasting between 15 and 21 days. During this time they mate with multiple males in a process known as polygyny. Unlike female whitetails which typically mate for life, female blackbuck frequently mate with multiple partners during their lifetime. In some cases, females may mate with up to six different males during a single estrous cycle. Though monogamy is more common among female whitetails than in other deer species, it is not unheard of for female blackbucks to form lifelong bonds with one male partner.
Habits and Habitat of Whitetail
The senses of sight, smell, and hearing in white-tailed deer are exceptionally well developed, making them extremely cautious and vigilant. The first thing they do when they sense danger is try to elude detection by blending in with their surroundings. It is, however, possible for a white-tailed deer to be startled and run away quickly, while raising its tail in the air as a visual signal to other nearby deer.
In the breeding season, also known as estrus, bucks tend to be lonesome and solitary except when they are actively seeking mates. Breeding season is typically November, but in some areas it can occur in September or December.
For territorial marking, bucks rub saplings with their antlers. They also use their antlers to fight with other bucks when estrus is in full swing. After the breeding season, the antlers are shed and new antlers begin to grow in the spring of the following year.
This is especially true in the winter months, when the doe is likely to be joined by her cubs from the previous year. The fawns begin to separate from their mothers at the end of spring. In the spring and early summer, most women give birth to their children. In the first few days of life, fawns, or fawnlets, have little to no scent.
Red-brown fur with white spots helps the fawn blend into the forest floor’s sunlight, where it spends most of its time evading hungry predators. Until the fawn is old enough, its mother will return to nurse it.
In addition to forests, white-tailed deer can be found in fields and swamps. They are most frequently found in areas with a wide range of habitats, which provides them with everything they require throughout the year. Among the plants that whitetails eat are young leaves, stems, buds, and any acorns that are lying around. Human crops like corn and soybeans can also be damaged by deer because of their voracious appetites.
Food Habits of Mule Deer and Habitat
Deer are herbivores, which means they eat a wide variety of plants in order to stay healthy. Mule deer eat a wide variety of plants, including sagebrush, bitter bush, mountain mahogany, cliff rose, rabbit brush, bush oak, and willow.
Rocky Mountain mule deer eat more than 800 different species of plants, according to research. Of these, weeds (non-woody herbs such as dandelions), shrubs or trees, and grasses make up more than 60 percent of the total.
Sophisticated mule deer breed selectively, rarely concentrating on a single type of offspring. According to many researchers, mule deer have the ability to select and eat plants that provide the most nutritional value at any given time of the year.
Consuming large quantities of the fleshy perilla leaves, mule deer rapidly gain weight and fat reserves from late spring to early autumn. In the late fall, they primarily feed on the current year’s shrub species’ growing leaves and stems.
Mule deer eat twigs and twigs in the winter and early spring when there is little food on the ground. This inedible, woody plant has no nutritional value and should be avoided at all costs. Mule deer rely on their fat reserves to help them survive times of nutritional scarcity.
Adult deer may lose up to 20% of their body weight in these times of scarcity, according to research on mule deer, and mule deer may spend up to six months a year on this low-quality diet. Weather, fat reserves, and the deer’s own ability to conserve energy all play a role in the deer’s winter survival.