What do Deer Eat?
All species of deer are herbivores which means that they only feed on grass and plant life. They don’t consume any types of meat. They are very opportunistic when it comes to eating so they will consume anything that they can in their path. Some of the common foods that they eat include grass, plants, leaves, roots, and stems.
During various times of the year they will take advantage of what is able to grow in given areas. They may feed on berries from small trees and bushes, herbs, acorns, mushrooms, and some types of sweet fruits that are available. They can be a nuisance to farmers because they will get into the crops when corn and soy beans are being grown.
Deer have a four chambered stomach and a very complex process for digesting. They create cud in their bodies which means that they need to be able to chew food, swallow it, and then to regurgitate it. Then will then chew it up more before they finally swallow it. That is when they can get the nutrients that it offers.
Due to the long digestive process and the fact that a great deal of their food comes back out as waste they have to consume lots of food every day. They can spend many hours doing so. Deer are the most active in the early morning and after dusk. They have excellent vision at night so it isn’t a problem for them to eat during this period of time.
Deer naturally eat less in the winter months because the foods they rely on aren’t readily available. They will be less active then in order to be able to conserve their energy. Some people assume they see deer less in the winter due to the cold but the real reason has to do with their food sources not being plentiful. They do try to hide from the harsh winter winds though as well.
The teeth of deer are very interesting. On the bottom jaw they have very small teeth. These allow them to tear food from the source and to rip it into smaller pieces. There aren’t any teeth located on the top jaw area. They have a hard palate here that they are able to use in the same way as teeth though. The back of the jaws hold their molars that they use for chewing their food.
When food is hard to find, the survival for the deer in an area is going to be very harsh. They aren’t like other animals that will leave that habitat in search of food. In fact, they are more likely to starve and have a slow and painful death than to look elsewhere for food. This is why establishing limits regarding how far into the territory of such animals humans should be permitted to go for their own needs.
Many hunters use food as a way to get deer used to coming into a given location on a regular basis. They will put food sources out in the winter to offer it to them when they are struggling to find enough of it. By the time hunting season rolls around these deer are very used to that area and they feel comfortable there. Then the hunter just has to wait during his given season period and make sure the aim is very good.
It is typical for an adult male deer to eat up to five pounds of food per day. However, that volume can vary depending on the species. It can also vary depending on where they happen to be located. Some types of food seem to offer them more sustenance so when they eat them they need less overall.