Homeowners often complain about deer attacking their plants and destroying their gardens, yards and orchards. These animals have keen appetites, and feed on a wide variety of trees, plants and vegetables. In order to effectively apply deer repellent measures to keep deer away from the yard, it is a good idea to better understand some of their unique physical characteristics and behavior. This article presents five surprising facts about deer.
1. Various Species
There are 38 species of deer around the world, including the reindeer, elk and moose. They are spread across all the continents except Antarctica, in habitats ranging from marshy land to forests and mountainous terrain. In North America, the most commonly found deer species is the white-tailed deer. This is the most shy and nervous species among all deer, which makes it the most hunted game animal in North America. The white-tailed deer also causes most of the road accidents in the country by running in front of fast-moving cars on the highway.
2. Territorial Behavior
Deer are very territorial. They mark their home range by letting out a pheromone, which is a substance having a strong smell, from the gland in front of their eyes. Once a territory has been established in this way, a deer will not give it up, even at the cost of dying of hunger.
3. Deer Antlers
Almost all species of male deer have antlers. Moreover, each species’ antlers have a distinctive structure. Deer use their antlers to fight each other during the mating season. The reindeer or caribou is the only species of deer in which the female grows antlers. Deer antlers are a form of living tissue; they are shed annually, and they grow back faster than any tissue among all living beings.
4. Sensory Behavior
Each of a deer’s senses are very sharp. A deer can move its ears in any direction to pick up the source of a sound, even while the head remains stationary. Its eyes are placed on either side of its head such that it has slightly over a 300-degree view. A deer cannot perceive depth very well, and it can detect green and blue better than other colors. Its sensitive nose can smell a predator from afar. A deer’s well-developed senses of taste and touch guide it in finding preferred plants on which to feed. A rarely known fact is that this creature has an additional sense as compared to humans. The vomeronasal organ in the roof of its mouth acts like a secondary nose and is used specifically for mating.
5. Young Deer
A deer’s young ones are called fawns. Fawns are able to stand and take a few steps within 30 minutes of being born, which is remarkable. In all deer species, fawns are born with white spots on their body, which act as effective camouflage against predators. These spots fade away in less than a year, by which time the young deer can take care of themselves.
Bonus Fact: Biologists tell us that a deer’s sense of smell is many times greater than that of even the most olfactory acute humans, perhaps up to 1000x greater. Deer use their incredibly acute sense of smell to detect potential predators and other dangers. Taking advantage of the instinctive fear with which a deer reacts when the scent of a predator nearby is one of the most powerful tools a homeowner has to keep their property deer free.
Deer Threat to Yards
While all these facts about deer can be interesting to read, some of them can be very useful to homeowners trying to rid their yard of deer intruders. If leveraged properly, a deer’s characteristic can be used to prevent them from attacking gardens and yards. For example, Shake-Away deer repellent packs make use of the deer’s ability to detect the smell of a predator such as the coyote. The repellent product takes advantage of the deer’s instinctive fear that is associated with the smell. Shake-Away is available in pouches that contain granules having the scent of the coyote’s urine. By hanging the Shake-Away deer repellent pouches around the yard, and particularly around plants that are preferred food for deer, homeowners can keep deer out of their yards and gardens.