Do deer live in the rainforest? How do they survive?
Do deer live in the rainforest?
Yes, there are many deer species that do live in the rainforest. In fact, if you see, the rainforest is home to more than 25 living deer species in the world.
Some of the most well-known examples of deer that live in the rainforests are Marsh Deer, Brocket Deer, Pampas Deer, Andean Deer, Indian Chevrotain, Red Muntjac, Swamp Deer, and White-tailed Deer.
Deers are categorized under the Family Cervidae of the Animal Kingdom that comprises 43 species of hoofed ruminants in the Order Artiodactyla, all under the Class Mammalia.
Out of these, there are at least 7 species of deer that can adjust easily in any type of habitat ranging from tropical rainforest to the temperate rainforest if they can fulfill their daily dietary needs.
Deers that are all included in the family Cervidae are also termed as Cervids, and it is here to be noted that the Cervids are found all over the world, except in Australia and Antarctica.
Although deers can be seen living in the rainforests, but they do also live in a variety of ecosystems like deciduous forests, grasslands, wetlands, mountains, and arid scrublands.
The Marsh Deer (Scientific Name: Blastocerus dichotomus) is the most popular and well-known deer species that can be found in the Tropical Rainforest Zone of South America.
A notable population of these species also occurs in the Amazon Rainforest zones, also including the west of the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest and north of the Argentinian Pampa.
Those deer species that are very well adapted to living in the rainforest have used their ability to better conceal in the high vegetation density of the rainforest in order to better protect them from predators, and also to provide them with an adequate amount of vegetational food.
What kind of deer live in the rainforest?
The Marsh deer is the largest deer species in South America’s Tropical Rainforests. So yes, it can be found in the tropical and subtropical forest zones, and also at the marsh and lagoon zones of the river basins of Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
Yes, the Brocket Deer is another one. They can also be seen as highly populated in the tropical rainforest zones of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, parts of Central and South America, and also including the Tobago Rainforest zones of the Island of Trinidad.
Pampas deer is yet another one that inhabits the tropical and subtropical rainforests’ low-elevated grassland regions of South America. They are also known to inhabit the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands, which is in the Pantanal Wetlands.
Yucatan White-Tailed Deer is another popular deer species. They inhabit throughout Central, North and South America, that includes the Yucatan Moist tropical and subtropical rainforest zones (Maya Forests) which is the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the Americas. Their range extends from northern South America all the way up to southern Canada that has Yucatan’s rainforest zones (Maya Forests) stretching across Belize, northern Guatemala, and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
How does a deer survive in the rainforest? Let’s know about their notable adaptational features…
Those rainforest-living deer species have a lot of evolutionary adaptations and behavioral practices that aid them to better survive in the rainforest.
Some of these notable ones are mentioned below. Go, give a read…
They need to conceal themselves from predators and so that’s why they do better prefer foraging and hiding in the dense thickets of forests and grasses that provide cover and grazing at the edges. So, rainforests give them such an option.
Mother deers can be seen to flag their tails, position their tails in a symbolic way and by doing so they do raise their white tails and show their white underside. Seeing the white underside and the symbolically raised tail helps the young deers to keep track of each other and their mother while running, or while foraging through the dense vegetation.
They do also have a good sense of hearing, smell, sight, and long flexible legs with powerful limb muscles. These all together help them to better sense their environment and move ahead, and in the case of danger jump high and run fast through the dense vegetation.
Deers are also ruminants and so they have a four-chambered stomach. Their stomach helps them to digest the vegetative diet by partially chewing it first, and then storing it in their stomach for chewing on later when it’s safe and required. This helps them to eat quickly and store it in their stomach and then move to a safer place and later feed upon, because in such a dangerous environment many predators may be lurking at them.
They do also wag their tails and show their white undersides, and spread pheromones from the glands in the hooves called tarsal glands throughout their territory to give a kind of an alert to their fellow mates.
They do also alert their mates by beating their hooves and snorting after sensing any predatory danger.
Their body fur also helps them to better thermoregulate, and camouflage themselves according to the environmental changes.
What do deers eat in the rainforest?
Deers are herbivore animals and so they do strictly follow a vegetational diet wherever they live.
They eat leaves, plants, grasses, roots, sprouts, lichens, mosses, shrubs, fruits, flowers, twigs, acorns, tea bark, nuts, fungi, or anything else available to them.
Those that live near the river basins, wetlands, or any other aquatic habitats may also eat varied aquatic plants that include algae, moss, water hyacinth, duckweeds, water cabbage, and many other aquatic flowers, plants, and shrubs as well.
Depending on the season, their diet may not remain the same throughout the year due to seasonal changes. So, it has been seen that they do eat what is available to them at that time of the year.
Those that inhabit the tropical rainforest areas do have somewhat the same vegetative diet throughout the year, as the tropical rainforests do not experience any seasons like summer, winter, spring, or autumn, and experience only the dry and wet season.
Their herbivorous food habits help to balance the ecosystem by providing the proper energy flow from the producers to the consumers and then back to the soil by the decomposers.
They, in fact, provide the middle link in a food chain as they feed the plants and predators feed upon them and so the energy is passed from the plants to the predators after eating the deers (herbivores), and this is essential for the proper functioning of the food chain in an ecosystem.
EXPLAINED: Deer live in a variety of biomes, ranging from Tundra to the Tropical Rainforest
Yes, deer can be seen everywhere in the world, except for Australia and Antarctica. They can be seen in all types of biomes that are aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra biomes.
They prefer more grassland types of ecosystems for them to better graze, forage, conceal, and camouflage to better grow and thrive over time.
In some places, it has been seen that many species of deer act as keystone species and also that many fill in the ecological niches of other animals as well.
Just like the Huemul deer living in the Andes Mountains of South America fills the ecological niches of the Wild Mountain Goat.
And, also that the White-tailed deer acts as a keystone species in the parts of North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America by creating an impact on many other organisms.
It has been seen that they come out to forage only during the night time or dawn or dusk time. They mostly sleep during the daytime and this helps them to better conceal themselves and remain safe from predators’ attacks.