Friday, January 21, 2011
Is This A Buck That Shed Its Antlers?
I've included this photo because I think this may be a buck after shedding his antlers. I'm guessing this from the marks on its head.
I have read that bucks grow and then shed antlers annually, shedding the antlers after mating season. I also read that some bucks (the more successful ones at mating) retain their antlers a bit longer than the others. So, if this is a buck, it would be one that was not too successful at mating because there is still at least one stag in the neighborhood that still has its antlers, spotted last night.
My source for this is Lone Star Menagerie: Adventures with Texas Wildlife, by Jim Harris, published in 2000 by Republic of Texas Press. This book is fascinating, with funny anecdotes and charming detail, full of information about the lives and habits of local animals.
The wikipedia article on antlers is interesting. It describes antlers as "one of the most exaggerated cases of male secondary sexual traits in the animal kingdom": I love it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antler