The Red Deer
6 May 2015 | From Pavel of Belarus
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. The red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, Iran, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa.
The red deer is the fourth-largest deer species behind moose, elk and sambar deer. It is a ruminant, eating its food in two stages and having an even number of toes on each hoof, like camels, goats and cattle. European red deer have a relatively long tail compared to their Asian and North American relatives.
The closely related and slightly larger American elk or wapiti, native to North America and eastern parts of Asia, has been regarded as a subspecies of red deer, but recently been established as a distinct species. Probably the ancestor of all red deer, including wapiti, originated in central Asia and resembled sika deer.