A subspecies of the red deer that is indigenous to Spain is called the Spanish red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus). The males of the Spanish red deer subspecies have two or more mates, making them polygynous. During mating season, the males have a black ventral region in their belly. On the ladies’ preferred site, the males often protect the mating territories.
Spanish red deer Photos
A huge mammal with a sturdy physique, delicate head, and long legs is the red deer. The ladies are 90 – 110cm (3ft-3’7″) tall, while the males are between 90 and 120cm (3ft-3’11”) at the shoulder. Antlers are only present on males and are replaced annually. The belly and base of their short tail are significantly whiter than the rest of their body, which is generally brown with greyish undertones.
The Red deer is spread out across a large portion of Europe, Asia, and North America. Each of the roughly 27 subspecies has evolved unique traits. Cervus elaphus hispanicus, a subspecies found in Iberia, differs from Central European varieties in having a smaller head, more gray coloring, and finer measurements.
Within Spain, red deer sizes vary according to genetics and availability of food. The males can reach shoulder heights of 90 to 120 cm and overall lengths of 160 to 220 cm; the females are shorter.
They prefer to reside in regions where woodlands meet open spaces or scrubland because it provides adequate grazing and a secure hideaway. These free-ranging, extremely timid and shy animals are most active at dawn and twilight when they are feeding on grasses, leaves, and shoots. Males typically live alone, but females, including the young, dwell in herds of three or more, each headed by an older female.
Cervus elaphus imported abroad, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The Iberian Peninsula and North Africa comprise elaphus ssp hispanicus.
In contrast to many landowners on hunting reserves elsewhere in Spain, where antler size is a valuable trophy, many red deer in the Doana National Park represent a pure strain of the subspecies. Their populations are dispersed throughout Spain, mostly in national parks, game reserves, and other protected areas. (Those in Portugal came via natural migration across the border from Spain and also from reintroduction.)
Antlers are only present on stags, and they grow yearly depending on the testosterone levels of the animal. The bone antlers, which develop swiftly in the spring, are first covered in velvet for protection. Antlers are lost as testosterone levels decline at the end of the year. Stronger and more complicated antlers are thought to indicate more fertility, helping the hinds select the best mate among the stags.
Most of the year, adult men will typically remain in bachelor groups. The females, or “hinds,” will have their own groups at the same time, containing just the youngest males. A mating ritual called a “Rut” occurs at the conclusion of summer and the start of winter. The men now engage in competition with each other to draw female crowds.
The males breed best between the ages of 8 and 11. Although deer are often active day and night, the rut is most noticeable at twilight and dawn. Bellowing loudly and frequently, the stags draw both females and rival males with their call. The males will walk parallel and evaluate each other. At this moment, one can either concede defeat or, if the two opponents are equal in strength, engage in combat by rubbing antlers together and twisting to throw the other off balance. Injuries and even death may result from this conflict. (Stag remains have been found where a fighting pair’s locked antlers caused both to become dehydrated.) as soon as dominancy has been established The Alpha stag will keep bellowing, keeping his harem of up to 20 hinds together and away from the smaller stags. Breeding stags are always on guard during this time, and because they rarely eat, they might lose almost a fifth of their body weight.
Males and females split up after the breeding season. The next spring, from May to July, from 8 months of gestation, one or occasionally two fawns are born. After consuming only milk for three months, the young start to graze. The pregnant female won’t participate in the following rut. When they are one or two years old, the male calves will split off from the female groupings. Deer can live for 20 years, with the males reaching sexual maturity at 3 years old and the females at 2 to 3 years old. However, there is minimal likelihood of a harem developing for another 5 years.
Threats to the red deer
Their habitat is being threatened by urban expansion and agricultural development. Overhunting and canine predatory behavior provide additional risks to red deer. Wolves are the largest natural predators, yet due to persecution, they are also confined to small environments. Wild boar and lynx populations have decreased as well, with the latter only remaining in small pockets since it is an animal that is in grave danger of going extinct.
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