Antlers are one of nature’s strangest creations. It takes a male deer four or five months to grow a pair of antlers. During this time, he must eat plenty of the right foods just to make them grow. Then, after he carries them around for six or seven months, they fall off! Yet every year, without fail, the buck deer grows a new pair.

Antlers aren’t easy to carry around, either. Can you imagine carrying an 80-pound weight on top of your head everywhere you go? That’s how much a bull moose’s antlers may weigh. And they may stretch seven feet from tip to tip! Among most deer, the way antlers look is as important as the way they are used.

Herds of deer gather throughout the year for many different reasons. Some deer gather by the thousands so they can migrate together. Smaller groups of deer gather to mate, care for their young, and to stay safe from predators. Just like groups of people, these deer need rules to keep peace and order in the herd. One rule is that the male deer with the biggest antlers is boss. Some deer, like the wapiti, or elk, even have rules for challenging the boss. These rules help to prevent fights. When fights do occur, they usually end before anyone gets hurt. Check out Zoobooks Deer, Moose & Elk to read these and even more fun facts about deer!