The deer family (Cervidae) is quite large with 47 species that include caribou, elk and moose. They are two-toed (cloven-hooved) ungulates and have characteristic antlers, long bodies and necks, slender legs and short tails.
Deer can range in size from the South American southern pudu, which weighs around 20 lbs and stands 14 inches tall when full grown, to the North American moose, which can weigh up to 1,800 lbs and stand up to 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder.
All deer species have antlers, except for Chinese water deer. With the exception of caribou, only males have antlers. Antlers grow from boney structures on the skull called pedicles. As they grow, they are covered in “velvet” which is rich in nerves and blood vessels. When the antlers are fully grow, the velvet dies back and the deer rub it off against a tree or other vegetation. Antlers, unlike the horns of antelope and buffalo species, are shed every year and re-grown. Males use their antlers in competition during mating season and lose them soon after.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), many deer species are currently endangered.
White Oak currently houses one member of the Cervidae family: Père David’s deer. The Père David’s deer is considered extinct in the wild and can now only be found in captive populations. There is also is a large free-ranging population of the native white-tailed deer located on the property.