Discovering Mysteries S3E7 - Hainan Eld's Deer Fight for Love

By / HICN / Updated: 16:28,12-September-2022

Male Hainan Eld's Deer each mate with several females, so when mating season arrives, the air is filled with the sound of bellows and crashing antlers as fights break out again and again between bucks. The winners earn the right to mate.

Hainan Eld's Deer - Discovering Mysteries

Fresh sprouted deer antlers, which are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, have a large number of arteries and nerves inside. Bucks rub their antlers against the trunks of trees or shrubs to remove the velvety outer layer and expose the bone-hard layer below. Antlers are the main weapon employed by bucks fighting over mating rights. There is a clear difference in status between different bucks. The biggest and strongest take the mating rights. The bucks spar again and again, until one yields to the other. In addition to fighting, bucks also vocalize and take mud baths to show off.

Male Hainan Eld's Deer grow a new set of antlers each year - Discovering Mysteries

A young buck finds a doe he likes, and follows her around, nosing at her rump. When an even more powerful stag approaches, the young buck makes a tactful retreat. He can't be successful in every mating attempt. After failing twice, he finally succeeds, and quickly accomplishes the task of passing on his genes.

A herd of Hainan Eld's Deer - Discovering Mysteries

The seven-month pregnant does welcome the coolness of fall and winter, and the herd soon welcomes their new members.

Male Hainan Eld’s Deer fight over mating rights - Discovering Mysteries

Newborn fawns can stand after just half an hour. At this age, they depend on their mother’s milk. They nurse for 2-3 months, then begin to forage. After 3 months, they are completely weaned and can graze independently. After half a year, the young bucks grow their first set of antlers and can begin to mate with the newly mature does. After the mating season ends, the old antlers fall off and the bucks begin a solitary existence storing up energy and nutrition in preparation to grow a new set.

A Hainan Eld's Deer fawn nurses - Discovering Mysteries

A doe grooms her fawn - Discovering Mysteries



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