The deer is the smallest species of European wild goats. The males tend to be bigger and more robust, as compared to females. Males are also called fallow deer. Their fur is different depending on season. In winter, the fur is thicker and longer, giving the animal a fluffy, careless look, with gray or dark brown colors. In summer, the fur is shorter and scantier with colors of brown or intense auburn.
Deer's winter coat starts growing at the beginning of September and it is changed in the months of April-May. During the winter months, the fur at the level of the posterior croup is white and can be easily noticed. In summer, this sign is less noticeable. The tail is very short, only a few cm long. Its head is very small and rather long than broad. The snout is in general the same color as the rest of the body, but the nose is always black. Deer can often have white spots on its cheeks and on the upper part of its neck. The ears are big and oval, contoured by black-colored hair and their interior is lined with soft, white hair. Only males have horns, which they lose in the months of October and November, but which grow back on them until the next summer, when the mating season is on. Males use their horns during their fights for females in the mating season. They have supple legs provided with narrow and short hooves with very well-developed side toes. Their bodies are 95-135 cm long, and they are 63-67 cm tall. They weigh about 18-29 kg.
As compared to other wild goat subspecies, the deer usually is quite a solitary animal. Deer generally live alone or in small groups made of a female and its baby deer. They have a very small territory of about 1-2 km and they eat mostly either early in the morning or late at night, and they rest throughout the whole day. Deers get organized in groups of 20-40 members only in winter.
Deer also have quite a special type of habitat. They are distributed on quite a wide area, and it can be found in the temperate zones of Europe and Asia. Deer is a very easily-adjusting animal. For this very reason, deer can be found in a multitude of habitats. Nonetheless, they do prefer forest area with a lot of vegetation, zones which can stretch out from field areas to mountain woods.
When it comes to feeding, the deer is very little pretentious but still prefers vegetable food that are rich in water. They very happily eat young branches, buds, the leaves of different trees and bushes, tree barks, alfalfa, etc. Deer can also feed on agricultural crops and if they can get into fruitier orchards, they are very likely to taste their fruits and leaves. In autumn, deer prefer concentrated foods (seeds, fruits, and so on).
These are in general the major characteristics of this charming pretty animal. There are also some typical characteristics belonging to these species. Thus, the deer loses its coat twice a year, in spring and in autumn. There are frequent disputes among the fallow deer for females during the mating season. The medium life expectancy for a deer is of about 8 years, still with the possibility of reaching the maximum of 14-16 years.
The grace of this animal has most often connected it with the arts, especially with poetry and music, but painting also. Celts saw the deer as a magical, supernatural creature. It was a personification of femininity, grace, discretion and subtlety whereas its male counterpart was generally a symbol of independence, pride and purification. The forest was the domain of the male deer, which protected it and the rest of the animals in it. In heraldic, the deer was a representation of harmony and peace, suggesting the idea of somebody who will not fight unless he is instigated.
Deer was considered to have a very special talent of sensing medicinal herbs and because of that they gained a very special interest in people's folklore. Thus, a deer crossing over snakes is the symbol of spirituality's victory over temptations. In Christianity, the male deer is a symbol of piety, devotion and safety offered by the providence of God.