Types Of Deer
Unique Types of Deer
Have you ever caught a glimpse of something that kind of looked like a deer but certainly couldn’t be any of the types of deer you know about? There are quite a few different species of deer that simply don’t get as much attention as, say, the white-tailed deer. In fact, there are over 100 different types of deer that make up the Cervidae family, and some of them are just plain weird! Let’s take a look at some of the strangest and most unique species…
Muntjac – ‘Barking Deer’
Yep, there is such a thing as a barking deer! Well, the muntjac doesn’t bark per se, but it does produce a call that sounds remarkably like a dog’s bark! This deer is one of the smallest types of deer around. It is short and its entire body is covered with soft short fur. The barking deer is usually a reddish brown color but some have tan or dark brown fur. This barking breed of deer is native to Southern Asia however it can be found in places all over the world these days. In fact, it’s thriving in parts of England and Wales. The deer in this area actually descended from a few escapees from a safari park back in the 1920’s.
Although the males of this species have short antlers, they primarily use their little fangs, or thin tusks, to declare and defend their territory from other males. These fangs are actually just extended canine teeth. When it comes to strange types of deer, the barking deer definitely makes the cut!
The tufted deer is a close relative of the barking deer. It is a bit leaner, much furrier, and taller. Oh, and did we mention that it has FANGS? Okay, okay…no fangs—but it does have tusks that look like fangs. In fact, this species looks like a cross between a wild hog and a deer! As if the tusks could be overlooked, this species actually gets its name from the wild tuft of hair that fans out on top of its head. The tufted deer has short, coarse hair that is dark brown through most of the year except for the winter season when it darkens to charcoal black. It has white tipped ears and a white tail, the tail being a sort of communication device to signal danger.
The tufted deer is small. In fact, it measures an estimated 20 to 27 inches up to its shoulder. As the size of this species can vary greatly, some can weigh as little as 35 pounds whereas the larger of the species can weigh as much as 110 pounds. This species of deer is typically found in parts of China where it sticks to forested regions with plenty or rain and humidity. There isn’t any current information about how many of these deer are left in existence, but back in 1998 it was estimated that there was fewer than 500,000 tufted deer in existence.
Caribou – ‘Reindeer’
Many people are under the impression that caribou and reindeer are different species of deer when in fact they are the exact same animal! This species of deer is primarily found in arctic and subarctic regions such as Canada and the upper part of Eurasia. Reindeer can even be found in Northern Scotland! Caribou is one deer species in which both the males and the females grow antlers; however the females’ antlers are much smaller than the males’. Caribou are fairly sturdy animals. The females of this species have an average length between five and a half to six and a half feet and weigh anywhere between 180 and 260 pounds! If you think that’s impressive, consider the males which are about six to seven feet long and 350 to 400 pounds! The average caribou height (to the shoulder) is between two and a half to five feet.
This species has tons of fur although the color tends to vary depending on whether the reindeer lives in the very cold regions of the north or in the southern regions. Those that live very high north tend to be white and a bit smaller in overall size while the ones that live in slightly warmer climates are brown or black with grey or white accents.
The pudu is a species of deer that lives in South America. Although they definitely are a species of deer, they look as though they are a cross breed between chipmunks and sheep! This species is the world’s smallest deer and can range in size from one to one and a half feet tall and just under three feet in length. This deer can be described as being chunky with very thin legs (hence the sheep comment from earlier). The males have a small set of antlers while the females do not. The pudu has long, coarse fur that can differ in color from auburn to dark brown. In the winter some types of pudu experience a fur color change from brown to grey around the neck area. All in all, this has got to be the most cuddly-looking types of deer around! If one were to take it upon themselves to have a pet deer, this one certainly looks the part!