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March 24, 2020 2 min read

What do deer eat in the wild? If you are curious about the feeding habits of deer, you will find this article useful.

Deer are terrific animals with a vast number of species ranging from the whitetail deer in the United States to the Muntjac in the UK and the Barbary stag in Africa. Deer are so widely distributed that there is at least one indigenous representative in each continent except Australia and Antarctica.

Besides these, deer are also known for their diet weight. They can eat up to 600 different plant species with as much as 20 varieties in a single day. These animals will also eat about two pounds of dry food for every 100 pounds of body weight, and their lactating mothers usually consume a lot more. So are you curious about the question – what do deer eat in the wild? Here are the answers you seek in this article.

What do deer eat in the wild?

Deer are herbivores. These means they feed on plants, and their diets usually range from young shoots to berries, twigs, bark, grass, and many other things. Like goats, deer are ruminants. This means they regurgitate cud (half-digest food), chew, and swallow again. Deer have a well-specialized adaptation system that makes it easy for them to feed on several things, including touch barks.

You should also know that deer could even eat the chick or eggs of nesting birds. However, these occasions are so rare and thought to happen when they cannot source for all the nutrients they need.

Versatile palate

Deer has a very dynamic appetite, which depends on the availability of food and season. On certain occasions, especially in winter, deer may feed on lichen and forms. Deer also eat nuts and fruits a lot. They can eat acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, pecans and many more. They are also partial to fruits, including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, persimmons, and many more. Deer can even eat vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, and mushrooms. They can also eat potatoes if they cannot find anything else. However, they do not eat potatoes leaves because they are toxic.

Should you feed deer in the wild?

Feeding the wild, including deer, poses a threat to their community as well as humans. Most environmental departments frown on the practice. Some states and countries also have restrictions or bans on feeding deer. This is because the biological systems of deer evolve with the seasons. Therefore, at different times, they have well-adapted systems for available food. If you feed them meals meant for another season, it can cause digestive problems. Deer gathered around single, artificial food sources also carry higher risks of spreading diseases.

Concluding Thoughts

What do deer eat in the wild? The shortest answer is that they eat almost plant-based meals rising up to 600 different plant species. Nevertheless, their systems are specially made to adapt to the changing seasons because food sources vary from season to season. You should also avoid feeding deer in the wild because it causes potential problems for the ecosystem and humans as well.