The antlered herbivores of the family Cervidæ Represented in the North Country by the Moose (Alces alces), the White Tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and, farther north, the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus)
A deer is a large wild animal that eats grass and leaves. A male deer usually has large, branching horns. Word History: In various Middle English texts one finds a fish, an ant, or a fox called a der, the Middle English ancestor of our word deer. In its Old English form dēor, our word referred to any animal, including members of the deer family, and continued to do so in Middle English, although it also acquired the specific sense "a deer." By the end of the Middle English period, around 1500, the general sense had all but disappeared. Deer is a commonly cited example of a semantic process called specialization, by which the range of a word's meaning is narrowed or restricted. When Shakespeare uses the expression "mice and rats, and such small deer" for Edgar's diet in King Lear, probably written in 1605, we are not sure whether deer has the general or the specific sense. It is interesting to note that the German word Tier, the cognate of English deer, still has the general sense of "animal.". Any of the ruminants in the family Cervidae, which have two large and two small hooves on each foot and antlers on the males of most species and on the females of some species. Deer live mainly in forests but may be found in deserts, tundra, and swamps and on high mountainsides. They are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and northern Africa and have been introduced widely elsewhere. Females are usually called does, and males bucks. Deer range in shoulder height from the 12-in. (30-cm) pudu (genus Pudu) to the 6.5-ft (2-m) moose. They typically have a compact body, short tail, and long, slender ears. They shed their antlers each year, and new ones grow in. The general form of the antler varies among species. Deer feed on grass, twigs, bark, and shoots. They are hunted for their meat, hides, and antlers. See also caribou, elk, mule deer, muntjac, red deer, roe deer, white-tailed deer. mouse deer barking deer deer mouse mule deer red deer roe deer white tailed deer Virginia deer
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