Grassland Food Sources for Pampas Deer

By Naomi Millburn

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Pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), in their salad days of the past, were prevalent throughout the South American grasslands. In modern times, however, these lithe, mid-sized deer are limited to just a small handful of communities throughout their geographic scope. Pampas deer come from Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia.

About Pampas Deer

At maturity, these cervids usually weigh between 66 and 88 pounds. Fully mature height for pampas deer, taken from the shoulder, is usually anywhere from 27.5 to 29.5 inches. Fully mature length for the species is usually between 43 and 55 inches. The females tend to be just a tad smaller than the females. Apart from that, the genders are extremely close physically. Their bodies are primarily grayish-yellow, beige or light reddish-brown, although their tails, faces and upper heads are often deeper in color. Their lower portions are paler than the rest of their bodies. Pampas deer reside in tiny social units. These units hardly ever consist of more than five or six specimens.

Herbivorous Diet

Pampas deer are herbivores, and feed exclusively on plants. Their basic diet is made up of elements such as foliage, flowers, shoots, shrubs, twigs and grass. Grass in general is a dining preference for these fellows, and ryegrass is a specific favorite of the species. Seed heads are also part of their feeding plan. When it comes to their foraging technique, these deer are rather opportunistic creatures.

Food Sources for Pampas Deer

As far as feeding goes, pampas deer are simultaneously browsers and grazers. They forage for meals in their natural environments of grasslands and scrublands. They are especially drawn to wide and airy habitats. In sections of Argentina, pampas deer sometimes even occupy salt marshes.

Population of Pampas Deer

The species is named as a "near threatened" group, population-wise, as of the 2008 analysis by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Numbers for pampas deer are falling, and many factors are possible causes, including diseases contracted from farm animals, excessive hunting and minimization of their living environment due to agricultural expansion. Not only are farm animals a potential source of illness to pampas deer, they also are rivals for precious sustenance -- another big risk to the species' continued existence.

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