16 Difference Between Deer and Reindeer (With Table)

Deer and reindeer are hoofed mammals that belong to the family Cervidae. In most deer species, only the males have antlers. However, reindeer both male and female species have antlers.

So, what is the difference between deer and reindeer? A deer is adapted to a moderate climate while the reindeer are adapted to a cold climate.

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Comparison Table (Deer vs Reindeer)

Characteristics Deer Reindeer
Meaning Refers to a hoofed, grazing, or browsing animal with branched, bony antlers typically by males. Refers to a type of deer with large horns that lives in Northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Species There are around 90 species. Has around 10 subspecies.
Location Found in all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Found in circumpolar and polar parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Habitat Lives in meadows, savannahs, and various types of forests. Lives in boreal forests and tundra.
Preferred climate Prefer a moderate climate. Prefer a cold climate.
Size The smallest species weighs 20 pounds and the largest species weighs 1000 pounds. It is medium size; weighs between 180-400 pounds.
legs Has long thin legs. Has long stumpy legs that click every time they spot.
Hooves Has pointed hooves. Has wide split hooves that help to move across the snow.
Fur Has less dense fur. Has high fur density.
Fur color The fur color depends on the species. The fur color depends on the habitat.
Antlers Only the male deer has antlers. Both male and female deer have antlers.
Antler size Has long, forked, pointed antlers. Has large antlers in comparison to the body size.
Nose Do not have turbinate bones nasal cavity. Has special turbinate bones in the nasal cavity to warm the cold air which it inhales.
What they feed on They feed on twigs, fruits, leaves, grass, and lichens. They feed on birch, leaves, mushrooms, lichens, and moss; eggs, fish, and sometimes small rodents.
Hunting Hunted by humans, bears, wolves, cougars, and vultures. Hunted by humans and bears.
Association with human beings Mostly hunted for its meat and antlers hence do not associate with humans well. Can be domesticated in order to pull sleds and carry heavy loads for people. It is important to source milk, fur, and meat.
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What is Deer?

A deer is a hoofed, grazing, or browsing animal with branched, bony antlers that are borne with males only. The antlers are the fastest-growing tissues on earth. While developing, the velvet fur on the antlers sheds and it falls. The Chinese deer do not have antlers as they shed during the winter season.

They are sensitive to sounds and are able to hear high-frequency sounds compared to human beings. The brown coat provides an adaptation to camouflage within the woodlands. There are various species of deer and the color of their fur depends on the species.

They feed on twigs, fruits, leaves, and lichen. They are mostly hunted by humans for their meat and antlers. This makes it difficult for them to be domesticated as they fear being devoured.

What is Reindeer?

Reindeer is a type of deer with large horns that lives mainly in North America, Asia, and Europe. It prefers to live in cold areas and hence they have an adaptation mechanism where the cold air inhaled can be warmed before being utilized. They have special turbinate bones in the nasal cavity that warms the air.

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They are associated with Santa and this makes them famous during the Christmas season. Their hooves are wide and split and this enables them to move on snow. Both male and female reindeer have antlers unlike other species of deer whereby only the males have antlers.

They feed on birch, leaves, mushroom, lichens and moss, eggs, fish, and small rodents. They can be domesticated as they have various use for humans apart from their bodies being used as food. They can carry heavy loads from one place to another.

Main Differences between Deer and Reindeer

  1. Deer is adapted to moderate climate while reindeer are adapted to cold climate.
  2. Deer lives in meadows, savannahs, and other types of forests while reindeer lives in boreal forests and tundra.
  3. Deer has long thin legs while reindeer has long stumpy legs that click every time they spot.
  4. Deer has pointed hooves while reindeer has wide split hooves to enable them to move on the snow.
  5. Deer has less dense fur while reindeer has high dense fur.
  6. The color of the fur on a deer depends on the species while the color of the fur on a reindeer depends on the habitat.
  7. Only male deer have antlers while reindeer, both male and female have antlers.
  8. Deer do not have turbinate bones in the nasal cavity while reindeer have turbinate bones in the nasal cavity that warm the air that is breathed in.
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Similarities between Deer and Reindeer

  1. They both belong to the family Cervidae.
  2. Both can be domesticated.
  3. They are both social animals who live in herds.
  4. Both are herbivores and hunted by humans and bears.
  5. Both have antlers.
  6. Both are hoofed mammals with four legs.

In Conclusion

Both deer and reindeer belong to the family Cervidae. Deer is adapted to moderate climate while reindeer are adapted to cold climate. This makes the reindeer have some structures that enable them to live in a cold climate. It has broad, widespread hooves that enable it to move on snow and also has turbinate bones in the nasal cavity that are used to warm the air breathed in. The main feature that makes deer and reindeer different is the type of habitat they live in.

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