Q:

What behavioral adaptations do deer have?

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Quick Answer

Deer have a wide variety of behavioral adaptations including the instinct to flee danger, the instinct to hide, protect and care for their young and the instinct that drives bucks to fight during rut, their mating season. One of the most distinctive deer behaviors is their tendency to travel in herds which function as familial and defensive units that protect the individual through weight of numbers.

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Full Answer

Male deer, called bucks, are very aggressive to predators, outsiders and to each other. During rut they will crash together, locking antlers or battering one another with their hooves in order to assert dominance. They can become so aggravated during these processes that they will kill one another.

Female deer, called does, protect their newborn fawns by licking them to remove all traces of scent from their coats and then help them to hide in dense brush or tall grass. Mother deer understand instinctively that fawns are helpless and require careful protection if they are to survive to adulthood.

Most deer will flee when they hear, see or smell possible danger. This adaptation ensures the safety of the herd from predators and natural disasters as their sharp senses give them an early warning and their speed lets them seek safety.

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