The deer

Cervo

  • Weight: 80 – 200 kg

The deer is the largest wild herbivore existing in the Alps. The male has horns of considerable size (antler) that fall in winter and then reform in a few months more and more ramified and strong. The coat color is reddish brown in summer and gray-brown in winter. Babies, in the first months of life, have a spotted coat.

The deer is a twilight-night animal and lives in herds composed of females and young led by a mature female.

It needs very large areas, that’s why it lives in mixed forests and forests rich in clearings, but sometimes it even goes on higher pastures. It is native of the humid forests along the waterways, but it is well adapted to all our forest types: in fact we find it from the plains to far above over the treeline.

Most of the deer shows a type of migratory behavior that can occur in a vertical mode or from the bottom to the mouth of a valley. The deer normally leaves the wintering areas at the end of April to go on alpine pastures where it spends the whole summer. The return is expected from the beginning of October, depending on the weather conditions and individual attitudes.

Deer, strictly herbivorous, have a good ability to adapt and change their diet according to the season and food availability. In autumn and winter they feed on wild fruits and dry grass, and when they start to run low, the bark of trees. In spring and summer instead it feeds on various forage species, gems and wild fruits. The male joins the herd only during the mating season (September-October): during this period the strongest males (dominant) emit a love-call (bellowing) to invite mating females, or to challenge any other male rivals. The average lifespan can reach 18/20 years. The physiological sexual maturity is reached between the first and second year of life, while the psychological one arrives for males at seven and eight years, while for females from the third year on. Pregnancy lasts from 226 to 236 days and it normally gives birth to one young, rarely two. The births are concentrated in the months of May-June.