The Natural History of Deer
Among the most widespread and abundant of the world's larger mammals, deer have been a source of endless fascination for humans beings. Yet over the centuries we have hunted them for sport and for their meat, hides, and antlers, and pursued them as destructive pests.
In this richly informative and engagingly written book, Rory Putnam captures the astonishing diversity—in habitat, diet, social organization, and behavior—of the world's 40 species of deer, and tells what is known about their biology and natural history. Rather than simply assembling species-by-species data, he compares and contrasts the characteristics of the various species and accounts for their similiarities and differences in reference to the environments they have come to colonize.
After discussing the origins of deer, Putnam describes the species of modern deer and their evolutionary relationships. He considers aspects of their physiology, ecology, and behavior, drawing particular attention to the ecology of habitat use, diet and digestive physiology, and social organization and behavior. He covers the life histories of the different species, population dynamics, and the interactions of deer with other animals.
Devoting a whole chapter to an essay on antlers, he ends with an enlightening and entertaining analysis of the relations between deer and humans.
Generously illustrated with stunning color and black-and-white photographs, as well as many line drawings and figures, this book will both reward the amateur naturalist and please the professional biologist.