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Difference between Deer and Antelope

Deer and Antelope both belong to the same order, Artiodactyla. Although they look alike, they have multiple distinct differences in terms of their physical appearance, physical abilities and scientific classification. Let us understand these animals more closely so that we could easily differentiate one from another!


Deer are ruminants that belong to the family, Cervidae. They inhabit a wide range of habitats such as deserts, tundra and rainforests. Accordingly, they are found in almost all the continents except Antarctica and Australia. The size and colour of a deer vary greatly depending on the species. Similarly, they weigh from 30 to 250 kg, depending on the species.

Deer have branched antlers as horns which are not permanent as deer shed their antlers annually. Only the male deer are able to grow antlers, female deer lack the antlers. They have facial glands in front of their eyes that secrete pheromones to be used as landmarks. Deer mate annually and their gestation period lasts around 10 months, depending on the species.

They are herbivorous so they generally eat grasses, shoots, leaves, fruits etc. They are social animals so they live in groups called herds. The average life span of a deer generally ranges from 10 to 20 years. Their natural predators include lion, tiger, wolf, dogs etc.


Antelopes belong to the order Artiodactyla. They are deer-like mammals and are native to Asia and Africa. True antelopes have one set of permanent horns which they never shed and may be straight, ridged, curved or twisted. They use their horns to fight off predators and rival animals. There are around 91 species of antelopes, some of which are a gazelle, impala, springbok, waterbuck etc.

Antelopes are found in a wide range of habitats, e.g. Sitatunga lives in semi-aquatic environments, Oryx lives in deserts, and Saiga prefers cold climatic conditions. An adult antelope weighs from 40 to 60 kg, depending on the species and its lifespan ranges from 10 to 25 years in the wild. They are herbivorous animals as they mainly feed on grasses. The natural predators of antelope include lions, hyenas, tiger, cheetah and crocodiles. A female antelope generally gives birth to a single calf, twins are very rare. The gestation period generally lasts up to eight months.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between deer and antelope are as follows:

Deer Antelope
It is mostly found in the forests of Asia, Europe and North America. It is native to Asia and Africa.
It belongs to the family, Cervidae. It belongs to the family, Bovidae.
There are around 62 species of deer such as mule deer, elk, moose, reindeer, fallow deer, chital etc. There are 91 species of Antelope such as gazelle, oryx, waterbuck, impala etc.
Their life span ranges from 10 to 20 years. Their life span ranges from 10 to 25 years.
They have antlers which are branched. They have horns which may be twisted, ridged and curved.
Only male deer have antlers. Both male and female antelope have horns.
Their horns are not permanent. Their horns are permanent.
They shed their antlers annually. They do not shed their horns.
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B.Tech / MCA