Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh deer!

So, back to Venezuela, where one of the many surprises of the Llanos wetlands was seeing a lot of an animal that most american readers will be rather familiar with. I'm talking about the white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). These deer are from the subspecies apurensis which is a little smaller than most north american forms - its antlers are similar in scale to whitetails seen in Arizona apparently.


I said I was surprised and part of the reason for that was just how aquatic the deers' habitat was - check out these wading whitetails.

white tail doe

This little buck had about the biggest rack we saw. He didn't exactly look like the master of his domain though.

whitetail buck

Having just finished reading the excellent "Where the wild things are" I'm more convinced than ever of the threat to ecosystems deer can pose in interrupted environments lacking in predators. The Llanos however has stacks of predators waiting on careless deer.


Not just the chap above but orinoco croc, jaguar, puma, savannah fox, anaconda and ocelot to name but a few. With that list perhaps the many deer we saw were really just the lucky few.

Speaking of north american mammals and the lucky few you absolutely must check out the awesome link below: "Dantheman9758" on Deviantart posted a work-in-progress proof of a poster he's preparing showing a complete suite of Pleistocene North America's megafauna from 13,000 YBP. Notwithstanding the fact that its a long way from finished this is one of the most ambitious and impressive bits of reconstructive rendering I've ever seen. It is truly amazing and I really hope he finishes it some day. The poster is here with some very interesting comments thereon and you need to click on it and see it full sized to appreciate its majesty, Dan's gallery also features a number of other works featuring the individual species too. Dan - if you are out there in the ether somewhere give us an update - I want this on my wall!


jason said...

The dichotomy of predator and prey in the last picture is captivating--especially with the various birds going about their business.

(Verification word: wailitak. It sounds like a line from Moby-Dick.)

tai haku said...

Thanks Jason - my verification word looked like it probably referred to a french condiment of some sort: Vencile