Wild Fact #127 – The Scariest Looking Deer on the Planet – Tufted Deer
Did You Know?
- The Tufted Deer has a vampire-esque look due to the incredibly large canines, which stick out of their mouth like fangs
- This deer species gets their common name from the small, brown or black tuft of hair on their forehead (I am sure all of the balding deer are envious)
- The Tufted Deer can typically be found throughout regions of China and historic reports showed a population in Myanmar, however, we have yet to find a current population (but that doesn’t mean they are not still there)
The Fanged Deer
It isn’t too often you come across a cute, little deer that can scare the socks off of you with one look. Perhaps it is just me but I find the large fangs to be a little unnerving. So what does our vampire Bambi need fangs for? Here is a hint – only the males have the large, protruding canines. Yes, the fangs are mostly used for fighting during the mating season or during territorial disputes. You will notice that the males hardly have any antlers (their small antlers are usually covered by the tuft of hair), which means their large teeth end up playing a major role in resolving conflict. A typical fight goes something like this. Two males come together and begin pushing each other with their incredibly small antlers. When one deer loses balance and begins to wobble the other will pounce with their fangs exposed. At this point, anything goes and the stronger deer will usually walk away victorious.
Confusing Your Predators – The Tufted Deer Edition
Even though the Tufted Deer has tusks that would make a Wooly Mammoth envious (okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration) they still need to worry about predators. The two main animals they need to be cautious of are Leopards and of course, humans. When threatened, the Tufted Deer will act much like the White-Tailed Deer as they too use their tail to confuse potential predators. How, you ask? Well, the underside of the tail is white while the top portion is brown. As the deer is bolting away from danger they will flap their tail up and down. Typically the alternating pattern of white and brown confuses the hungry attacker just long enough for our deer to get out of harms way.