Large deer widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa. A full-grown male (stag or hart) stands 1.2 m/4 ft at the withers, and typical antlers measure about 80 cm/31 in in length with a spread of about the same. During the breeding season the colour is a rich brown, turning grey at the approach of winter. The young are spotted with white.
The antlers are shed in April or May, and a few days afterwards the new growth shows. While the new antlers are developing they are covered with a thick velvet, and while in this condition are very sensitive. They are full-grown in about 12 weeks, and the ‘velvet’ is then rubbed off. Hornless stags sometimes occur.
Classification The red deer Cervus elaphus is in family Cervidae, order Artiodactyla.
The red deer is a native of Britain, occurring wild in the Scottish Highlands and the west of England and is also preserved in a number of parks. Remains of red deer which have been excavated in British peat beds show that they were once much larger, and the antlers finer than is now the case.
There are several races of red deer spread across Asia and into North Africa. Many of these have been given different names, such as the hangul in Kashmir, and the Barbary stag in Morocco. The red deer has also been introduced to New Zealand from Europe. All these forms are essentially similar to the typical European form, but vary slightly in size and colour.
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(pl deer) any animal of the Cervidae, a family of even-toed hoofed animals characterized by the possession of antlers by the males at least, incl re