The Siberian roe deer is a fragile, small fallow deer. She has many names. The most common is the eastern one. The roe deer is considered the largest in the category of the smallest deer. Nature endowed this animal with incredible grace, fragility and caution. The habits and lifestyle have much in common with goats. The closest relative is the European roe deer.
Species origin and description
The Siberian roe deer belongs to herbivorous, artiodactyl mammals. Belongs to the deer family, the genus of roe deer. The ancient ancestors of the genus are the Miocene Munjaks. Scientists note that in the Upper Miocene and Lower Pliocene, a group of animals lived throughout Europe and Asia, which had many common features with modern roe deer. Until recently, Siberian roe deer lived throughout the temperate climate.
Appearance and features
The body length of this representative of the deer family does not exceed one and a half meters. The height of the body at the withers is 80-95 centimeters. The body weight of an adult is 30 – 45 kilograms. Males are slightly larger than females, but this is not pronounced.
Roe deer have a small, somewhat elongated muzzle. The size of the skull does not exceed 20-22 centimeters. On the head are high horns, the length of which in some cases reaches half a meter. The horns are most often wide, sprawling. Long beautiful horns are worn only by males. Females do not have them at all, or have small, unattractive outwardly horns.
Video: Siberian roe deer
Wool in winter is thick with a reddish tinge. In spring and summer, the gray color of the hairline predominates, while the white mirror in the tail area becomes the same color with the whole body. The coat sheds twice a year. In summer, the coat is much thinner and shorter. Females and females have the same color.
On the head are oblong, rounded ears. The roe deer is distinguished by huge black eyes with oblique pupils. The animal has a long, graceful neck without a mane. In males, it is stronger and stockier than in females. Siberian roe deer have long, slender limbs. The forelimbs are somewhat shorter than the hind ones. Because of this, the spine is slightly tilted forward. There is a small round ponytail that is surrounded by a ring of white wool called a mirror.
In the spring-summer period, males have very developed secretory glands, in particular, sebaceous and sweat glands. With their help, males leave marks indicating that they belong to a certain territory. Siberian roe deer have excellent, sharply developed hearing and sense of smell.
Where does the Siberian roe deer live?
The habitat is quite wide.
The habitat of the Siberian roe deer:
- Northern regions of Mongolia;
- Western territory of China;
- Central Asia;
- Urals .
The ancestors of this species of artiodactyls in the old days chose the territory of forest-steppes for habitation. However, with the expansion of the boundaries of the territory mastered by man, they moved to forests. Roe deer choose as habitats an area where it is easy to hide and easy to find food. If there are no problems with food, but there is difficulty with shelter, the animal will not stay here. This is due to the development of the instinct of self-preservation.
Roe deer, living in open, unprotected dense vegetation, is an easy prey for predators.
They prefer the foot of mountain peaks, rocky terrain, high thickets of shrubs, the coast of steppe reservoirs. In addition, these fragile animals love meadows, tall, dense grass. Often you can meet the Siberian roe deer in swampy areas, in coniferous, deciduous forests, on agricultural land. They have excellent quality to adapt to cultivated territory. It should be noted that these seemingly gentle animals perfectly tolerate cold, persistent frosts.
The choice of a settlement site is influenced by several main factors: the availability of a source of food, shelter, and the height of the snow cover. The maximum allowable height of the snow layer is 0.5 meters. If the height exceeds this mark, artiodactyls look for another place where the snow cover is much less. Another important condition is that snow does not lie on the ground for most of the year.
What does the Siberian roe deer eat?
Siberian roe deer are herbivores. However, it cannot be said that they eat only one grass. Animals can eat mushrooms, berries, young shoots, leaves. In early spring, they eat blossoming buds on trees. They prefer juicy, fresh greens. They can feed on dry vegetation, cereals with a lack of food.
In order for the body to receive the necessary minerals, roe deer eat salt licks, or look for sources of water for drinking that are enriched with minerals. During the period of bearing and feeding cubs, the need for obtaining minerals increases several times.
The most difficult period for the Siberian roe deer is the end of winter. It is at this time that they feel an acute shortage of mineral-rich food, as well as fluids. When water bodies freeze, snow can be eaten to replenish the body's need for fluids. In winter, in the absence of food, coniferous trees can be eaten.
The digestive system of artiodactyls has a small stomach. In this regard, roe deer eat little. However, an active metabolism requires frequent food intake. During the day, one adult has at least 7-10 meals. The daily food intake for one individual is determined by its body weight and is approximately 2-2.5 kilograms of green vegetation. In the cold season, the daily amount of food decreases, as does its calorie content.
In conditions of food shortage, fierce competition grows between other representatives of ungulates and Siberian roe deer. In winter, in the absence of a food source, roe deer dig snow with their hooves, digging up dry vegetation. They are able to get their food from under the snow layers, the thickness of which reaches half a meter.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
In these animals, there is a cyclical daily pastime. Periods of grazing and movement alternate with chewing food and rest, sleep. Animals are most active and mobile in the early morning. Animals spend most of their time lying down. Beds are platforms that they clean from snow and dry vegetation with their hooves. Usually Siberian roe deer choose places for haulouts on the outskirts of clearings, or in a forest.
By nature, Siberian roe deer are not solitary animals. They gather in small groups of 7-12 individuals. The group consists of a male, several females and young. In the cold season, small groups can form a herd of up to three dozen animals. With the onset of spring, they disintegrate again.
Daily activity depends on several factors: seasonality, the number of individuals in the flock, the degree of anthropogenic pressure. In winter, the highest activity is observed in the early morning, in summer – at night and in the evening. With a pronounced anthropogenic pressure, the greatest activity of individuals also falls on the dark time of the day.
Siberian roe deer are tied to a specific range. Having mastered a certain territory, they tend to return there again and again. Males cover a certain territory, which they mark by rubbing their forehead and neck against trees. They can also dig the ground with their hooves, leaving a secret between the finger glands on it. One adult male occupies an area of 20 to 150 hectares. As a rule, the holdings of males do not overlap. Layering of sections on top of each other is possible only at high density.
It is unusual for males to enter foreign territories. With the onset of each new season, adult males win back their right to own the territory.
Siberian roe deer are considered peaceful, non-conflict animals. Even between males, conflicts rarely arise. When a controversial situation arises, they tend to demonstrate strength in front of an opponent. Roe deer make many different sounds.
Typical sounds of Siberian roe deer:
- Whistle. It is typical when a female communicates with her cubs. It is a manifestation of anxiety, anxiety.
- Hissing, snorting. Expresses aggression, irritability.
- Baking. Anxious, frightened individuals may emit.
- Moan. Emits an animal that is trapped.
- Noisy jumps, hoofbeats. It is a characteristic sign of a sense of danger, fear.
In the communication of individuals with each other, the non-verbal language of postures plays an important role. Thus, they give each other alarm signals, calls for flight, etc. Roe deer tend to run fast and jump high. In an attempt to escape the chase, Siberian roe deer jump over five meters in height.
Social Structure and Reproduction
The mating season for animals begins in mid-July and lasts one and a half to two months. Males are in constant search of females, they practically do not eat anything during this period. Females are considered sexually mature when they are two years old. If there are several contenders for the right to enter into mating relations with females, males can fight each other.
There is a manifestation of aggressiveness of males and in relation to females. In one mating season, the male is able to fertilize up to 5-7 females. Female roe deer also do not differ in the formation of established relationships. Although sometimes they can mate for several years in a row with the male they like the most.
Siberian artiodactyls have latent pregnancy. That is, the resulting embryo stops growth and development for up to 3-4 months. If mating took place in autumn, there is no latent period of pregnancy. With the beginning of the growth of the embryo, the female becomes more accurate, cautious. She is not characterized by sharp, dangerous jumps, too fast running. The gestation period is milked from 250 to 320 days. From one to three babies are born.
Roe deer cubs are very vulnerable and helpless. The female hides them in safe shelters for several months.
Spots on the back help to camouflage in thickets of vegetation. The mother is not far away, but she prefers to feed and rest not with the kids, so as not to draw attention to them. The female maintains contact with the offspring until the appearance of a new generation.
Siberian roe deer are highly prolific. With the onset of each new season, more than 96% of mature females of the species give offspring. Despite high fecundity, natural growth does not grow at a fast pace. Among this species of ungulates, a low survival rate of cubs is noted.
Natural enemies of Siberian roe deer
Siberian roe deer are considered natural enemies predatory animals. These include bears, lynxes, wolves, tigers. Foxes and predatory species of birds pose a threat to young and helpless offspring.
Small stature and natural gray-brown hair color allows you to dissolve against the backdrop of shrubs, foliage and tall vegetation. Long legs allow you to run fast and overcome high obstacles. At the time of pursuit, adult roe deer reach speeds of up to 50 km/h. With such a speed, they are not able to cover long distances. However, the ability to make such jerks and jump up to 4-7 meters in height allows you to get away from the chase.
Another dangerous enemy of the Siberian roe deer is a man. It is due to the fact that people are actively destroying the natural habitat of these fragile animals, as well as hunting and poaching, that they are on the verge of extinction. The Siberian roe deer is a favorite trophy for hunters and poachers. Big, heavy antlers, hide and tender meat are always in demand and highly valued.
Population and species status
There are some regions , in the Red Book of which it is listed. On the territory of the Russian Federation, the Siberian roe deer is listed in the Red Book of the Tomsk Region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. They have been given the status of a declining population.
In general, today the species is not threatened with extinction. Thanks to captive breeding in large numbers, there are about 10-13 million individuals in the center of Europe. Although two or two and a half decades ago, their numbers were more than half as large.
High fecundity allows you to quickly restore populations. In some regions, hunting for Siberian roe deer is even allowed after acquiring a license. In the countries of Central Asia, roe deer meat is considered a great delicacy because of its nutritional value.
Protection of Siberian roe deer
В In order to protect the animal, hunting for them is prohibited in regions where the number of populations of the species is significantly reduced. For example, the UK even provides for criminal liability for an accident if an animal suffers in it. Measures are also being taken on the territory of the Russian Federation aimed at curbing poaching and unauthorized hunting. In case of violation of the rules, a fine is imposed on the attacker. Its size depends on the scale of the damage.
The Siberian roe deer is a very cute and fragile animal. Lifestyle and behavior in natural conditions is of interest. Man seeks to create the most comfortable conditions for expanding the range of these ungulate mammals.