Deer antlers grow back

The red deer in June
If the antlers grow, there is peace in the men's flat share

26.05.2010 – 10:47

German Wildlife Foundation

Hamburg (ots)

The red deer uses it as a weapon and to impress: the antlers. In June, however, it is difficult to fight and show off because the imposing "bones" on the male animal's head are missing. They were dropped in February. Now the red deer grows a piston-like structure on the skull, which is covered by a bast skin. "The animals now stand together peacefully in packs and graze," says Hilmar Freiherr von Münchhausen, Managing Director of the German Wildlife Foundation. "Occasional arguments are only carried out with the forelegs, because the velvet antlers are very sensitive to pain."

For Münchhausen, the rapid growth of antlers is a miracle of nature. Up to 14 kilograms of bone substance are formed within just 140 days after the antlers are shed. The antlers grow at a record speed of up to two centimeters a day. The deer's need for calcium and phosphorus is extremely high and is sometimes even covered by their own skeleton. "You have to bear in mind that every year two gigantic bones grow on the animal's head within a short period of time - a natural process that is also met with great interest in medical research," says Hilmar Freiherr von Münchhausen.

The so-called piston antlers are covered with light brown, fine hairs of the bast skin and have a velvety sheen. Blood vessels that run under the outer layer provide nutrients for the growing antlers. At the end of July, the process of building the antlers is complete, the blood vessels become deserted and the deer scrapes off the dead tissue on trees and bushes. The hunter speaks of "sweeping". Freshly swept, the new antlers are almost white. The sap that penetrates the bone substance when the antlers are swept gives the antlers either a light, dark or gray-brown color. Only the ends of the rods are then still ivory-colored.

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Original content by: Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung, transmitted by news aktuell