Deer, beautiful animals with cloven-hooves, long slender legs, small tails, and usually antlers (on the males) have a number of natural enemies. Because there are so many predators that love to eat deer, these creatures have developed good hearing and eyesight, as well as the ability to run fast. It takes a skilled hunter to catch a deer, which means that only the most talented predators will succeed in getting this meal.
What Animals Eat Deer?
Animals that enjoy killing and eating deer include wild “dog-like” canids, big cats, bears, snakes, and even large reptiles. There are also a number of scavengers that will feed off a deer carcass. This is probably lucky as it helps clean up the unlucky deer that fall under the wheels of human drivers rather than human hunters, who also enjoy killing and eating deer. The specific animals include:
- Wolves: Like other canines, wolves tend to hunt in packs. But even a lone wolf can bring down a large animal like a moose (a species of deer). They usually attack deer from behind to avoid their forehooves which can deal a mighty blow.
- Coyote: Coyote kill deer, but it is difficult for them to do this there is snow which slows the deer down and exhausts them. Usually the alpha male and his female breeding partner will bring the deer down. The younger animals scavenge rather than kill.
- Cougars (Mountain Lions): These large cats kill deer frequently. They will kill one deer-sized animal every 6 to 12 days. Cougars are skilled hunters who stalk their prey before attacking and grabbing their prey by the throat. They will eat a deer over a two night period.
- Jaguars: These majestic cats are strong climbers and swimmers, which makes them adept at capturing their prey which includes deer. They have powerful jaws and amazing teeth which enable them to pierce the skull or neck of their prey from behind. with one bite.
- Lynx: Lynx also stalk their deer prey before pouncing quickly at their throat. A lynx will feed off of one deer three or four times over a two day period.
- Bear: A bear can kill its prey, including deer, by biting it in the neck or back, or sometimes striking it with a massive forepaw. They store the carcass in an appropriate spot and bury it under moss, sprigs, and soil. That way they can enjoy deer meat over a period of several days.
- Anacondas: These giant snakes reach their monumental size with a diverse diet that includes deer. They wrap themselves around their prey until it dies of asphyxiation. The anaconda then swallows the animal whole, a meal which will last the snake weeks or even months.
- Alligators: Adult alligators include deer in their diet. Basically, any animal that stops by the water for a drink can be considered prey for an adult alligator, particularly adult males.
- Caiman: Related to alligators, caiman are the largest predator in the Amazon ecosystem. Their diet includes almost anything, including deer.
- Scavengers: The animals who will eat a deer carcass after a predator has done the hard work of killing it include: foxes, fishers, skunks, bobcats, eagles, and vultures.
As you can see, there are a lot of animals that enjoy a meal of venison. The list above should, of course, include humans. Simply having deer as part of your name seems to attract predation as can be seen below.
Types of Deer and Their Predators
What eats white-tailed deer?
White-tailed deer are found throughout southern Canada, most of the mainland of the United States, and central America down to Bolivia. They must rely on their sense of smell and their ability to run and bound through dense vegetation in order to help them escape large predators which include: humans, wolves, mountain lions, bears, jaguars, and coyotes.
What eats mule deer?
The biggest dangers to mule deer are man-made–automobiles and hunting. Larger than their white-tailed cousins, they are a challenge to hunt because of their keen sense of smell and their awareness of their surroundings. They also have to be on the alert for bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. They aren’t well-equipped for fighting, so their best chance for survival is to stay alert. They have one advantage in that the position of their eyes allow them a 310 degree view around themselves.
What eats deer flies?
“Deer fly” is the common name for about 250 different species of flies that can be found all around the world, although they avoid deeply shaded areas. These flies require blood in order to produce eggs, which means they feed off of any number of animals including deer (and humans). But these predators are also prey. Wasps become parasites of their eggs. Fungi and bacterial parasites feed on deer fly larvae. Swallows, flycatchers, and other birds will eat adult deer fly (although they don’t target them). Dragonflies, robber flies, spiders, and hornets will also feast on these blood-sucking creatures.
What eats deer antlers?
in the spring, male deer shed their antlers. While these would be treasured finds, there is a lot of competition for them because antlers are fool of calcium, phosphorous, and mineral salts. This means that there are many animals that eat the antlers, cleaning up the forest floor. Squirrels, mice, porcupines, foxes, and even bears eat antlers for these nutrients.
What eats deer ticks?
Another unpleasant blood-sucking creature, deer ticks also have their own natural predators. These include ants, spiders, and birds. However, most of them do not specialize in eating deer ticks. Guinea fowl and chickens will eat ticks, but they also become hosts to ticks. Wild turkey may occasionally eat deer ticks, but they too are susceptible to being hosts.
What eats deer mice?
Deer mice, like any other small mammal, have to be aware of a large number of predators. Hawks, owls, snakes, short-tailed shrews, foxes, minks, weasels, bobcats, and coyotes all hunt and eat deer mice.
The more you learn about predator and prey, the more you realize how interconnected all creatures on the earth really are. From the tiny deer mouse to the giant moose, these animals all provide food for other amazing creatures in the never-ending cycle of life. Each animal, whether predator or prey, has developed the techniques that help that survive. It truly is amazing.