| "The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest deer species.
The red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia.
It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in
North Western Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa.
Red deer have been introduced to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. In many parts of the world the meat (venison) from red deer is used as a food source.
Red deer are ruminants, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach. Genetic evidence indicates that the red deer (Cervus elaphus) as traditionally defined
is a species group rather than a single species, although it remains disputed exactly how many species the group includes (see Taxonomy).
It is commonly accepted that the slightly larger wapiti (in American English an "elk", as opposed to a moose), native to North America and eastern parts of Asia represents a distinct species
besides red deer. The ancestor of all red deer, including "elk", probably originated in Central Asia and probably resembled
Sika deer. Although at one time red deer were rare in some areas,
they were never close to extinction. Reintroduction and conservation efforts, especially in the United Kingdom, have resulted in an increase of red deer populations, while other areas,
such as North Africa, have continued to show a population decline.
The red deer is the fourth largest deer species behind moose, elk (wapiti), and
Sambar deer. It is a ruminant, eating its food in two stages and having an even number of toes on each hoof,
like camels, goats and cattle. European red deer have a relatively long tail compared to their Asian and North American relatives. There are subtle differences in appearance between the various
subspecies of red deer primarily in size and antlers, with the smallest being the Corsican red deer found on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia and the largest being the Caspian red deer (or maral)
of Asia Minor and the Caucasus Region to the west of the Caspian Sea. The deer of Central and Western Europe vary greatly in size with some of the largest deer found in the Carpathian Mountains in Central Europe.
West European red deer historically, grew to large size given ample food supply (including peoples' crops), and descendants of introduced populations living in New Zealand and Argentina have grown quite large in
size and antlers. Large red deer stags, like the Caspian red deer or those of the Carpathian Mountains may rival the wapiti in size. Female red deer are much smaller than their male counterparts.
Generally, the male (stag or hart) red deer is typically 175 to 230 cm (69 to 91 in) long and weighs 160 to 240 kg (350 to 530 lb); the female is 160 to 210 cm (63 to 83 in) long and weighs 120 to 170 kg (260 to 370 lb).
The tail adds another 12 to 19 cm (4.7 to 7.5 in) and shoulder height is about 105 to 120 cm (41 to 47 in). Size varies in different subspecies with the largest, the huge but small-antlered deer of the Carpathian Mountains
(C. e. elaphus), weighing up to 500 kg (1,100 lb). At the other end of the scale, the Corsican red deer (C. e. corsicanus) weighs about 80 to 100 kg (180 to 220 lb), although red deer in poor habitats can weigh as little as
53 to 112 kg (120 to 250 lb). European red deer tend to be reddish-brown in their summer coats. The males of many subspecies also grow a short neck mane ("mane" of hair around their necks) during the autumn. The male deer
of the British Isles and Norway tend to have the thickest and most noticeable neck manes. Male Caspian red deer (Cervus elaphus maral) and Spanish red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) do not carry neck manes. Male deer of
all subspecies, however, tend to have stronger and thicker neck muscles than female deer, which may give them an appearance of having neck manes. Red deer hinds (females) do not have neck manes. The European red deer is adapted
to a woodland environment." - Wikipedia