Pampas Deer Ozotoceros bezoarticus

Measurements:
Head & Body Length- 110 to 130 cm
Shoulder height- 70 to 75 cm
Tail length- 10 to 15 cm
Weight- 30 to 40 kg.

Physical Appearance

The Pampas Deer is similar in proportions as the roe Deer. It has a long thin body and is fairly high legged. The coat is a yellowish brown colour, the under wool being particularly thick and dense. The under parts are whitish in colour. On the back there is a small hair whorl. The tail has a white underside. The antlers are relatively simple and have only three tines; a single forwards pointing tine and two backwards-pointing tines. The antlers are lost in the autumn and grow again for the following spring. Although the Pampas Deer has a similar distribution as the Marsh Deer and is superficially similar in appearance, it differs in having less complex antlers, and by being smaller and darker in colour. The ears are also smaller than those of the Marsh Deer.

 

Habitat

This species is found on the grassland plains of South America that are known as the Pampas. It prefers dry grassland areas. It occurs along the south east of South America, and is found in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

 

Distribution

Originally the Pampas Deer was found throughout the whole Pampas region of South America, and occurred in large numbers. However, its numbers have fallen steadily since this area began to be used for cattle ranching. The Pampas grasslands of South America were ideal for the raising of cattle, and the native deer of this area were forced out to make way for the cattle herds. The Pampas Deer was forced onto the edges of cultivation. The spread of disease from domestic animals, and over hunting has also had an affect on the populations of this deer. The outlook for this species appears bleak, unless measures are taken to prevent numbers from falling further. They may have a future in protected areas in the region. The exact status of the species is unclear, but it is certain that it has disappeared from much of its former range.

 

Behaviour

The Pampas Deer is active at night, resting during daylight hours in long grass where it can easily remain hidden. They feed on various species of grasses. When they are alarmed they flee with high leaps, and lift their tail high thus exposing the white underside. Although the Pampas Deer is a fast runner, it can only run for short periods of time before becoming fatigued. Throughout the winter they live singly or in pairs, but with the return of spring they gather into larger groups, forming herds of about 10 to 20 animals.

 

Reproduction

The rut occurs at the end of spring, although the timing is somewhat flexible. During the rutting time the glands between the hooves of the deer begin to smell strongly of a garlic like smell. When Charles Darin was visiting the area aboard the Beagle, he noted the strong smell the deer produced which could be smelt at a distance of up to 3 kilometres! During the rut the deer live in pairs. After a gestation period of days, a single calf is born. Unusually the male stays with the mother and calf while the calf is young. The calves have 4 pale stripes along their body from birth, although these fade with age. The calves are weaned at about 7 weeks of age. The young become sexually mature from about a year of age.