'/> Amazing Animals: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Gorgeous Golden Retriever – The Right Dog for You

Some interesting facts about the dog breed – Golden Retriever.

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The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland in 1800s. Lord Tweedmouth developed the first litter by crossing a male yellow-colored Retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel dog. It was first called the Golden Flat-Coat but later on giving the name Golden Retriever. Originally, the breed was used as Gundogs in retrieving shot waterfowls during shooting parties. The first Golden Retriever Club was founded in 1913. In 1925, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Aside from a good family companion, Golden Retriever serves as a bird dog, a therapy dog, a drug-snipping dog, and a service dog for the blind.

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The Golden Retriever is an active, medium-sized dog. As its name implies, the water-resistant coat comes in cream to dark gold in color. The inner coat is dense, while the outer coat is sleek and water-resistant. This sturdy dog has a broad head, straight muzzle, black or brownish nose, and medium to large brown eyes. Males average between 56-61 cm while bitches around 51-56 cm. Males weigh between 27-36 kg and bitches between 25-32 kg.

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Golden Retrievers are known to be intelligent, well-mannered loyal, gentle and confident dogs. They are highly trainable and can learn tricks easily. Their playful and friendly nature, get them along well with people, other dogs and cats. Interaction with people who show leadership makes a golden Retriever happy. At times, it tends to make behavioral issues like being destructive, and/or over-excited if not given regular exercises. Though not a good watchdog, it barks loudly to signal a stranger’s approach.

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A medium-maintenance dog, a once-a week grooming is required, and daily grooming during heavy shedding. The smooth, dense coat needs to be combed and brushed regularly. Bathe only when necessary. Also, ears must be regularly clean to avoid infections. Golden Retriever is an average shedder. This breed can do along well in an apartment.

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Golden Retrievers can live between 11 to 11½ years, but are prone to specific ailments. The breed’s common diseases include: Cancer, Hip and elbow dysplasia, Heart disease and Eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, heart disease, and joint diseases.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Believe It or Not: 30 Fascinating Facts About Animals

A short but interesting and amazing facts about animals.

The animal kingdom is full of strange, interesting and amazing facts. Read on to learn 30 fascinating things animals can do, traits they alone own and amazing facts good to be included in the Animals Guinness book of records.

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* Its not true that moths are attracted to light; moths fly in search for the dimmest point behind the light.
* Believe it or not, Scutiger coleoptera, a species of centipede can travel up 5 mph over short distances.
* Lobsters can move up to 25 feet per second under water.
* This is simply amazing, do you know that A mosquito actually has 47 teeth.
* A housefly could be a good singer, Why? It hums in the middle octave, key of F.
* Poor dragonflies, they have a short stay on earth, most of them die after 24 hours.
* Depending on the type of species, a grasshopper’s eardrum can be found either below its abdomen or on its forelegs.
* And how about a shrimp's heart. You could locate it its head.
* Would you believe that while the head is attached to his body, a male praying mantis cannot have sex. In order to copulate, his partner must initiates sex by ripping his head off. Isn’t it a weird sex ritual?
Scorpions are good models for “Glow in the dark’ products because literally they glow under dark.

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* Camels are animals characterized with a straight spine, regardless how many humps they have.
* In order to produce a ton of milk per day, you should have 60 cows in the farm.
* Almost all land mammals are built with body parts that can help them jump aside from elephants.
* Female elephants carry baby in their womb for two years.
* Contrary to the common belief that tigers only have striped fur, these animals also have striped skin.
* Yaks are some of the few species that can survive in places that have an altitude of around 20,000 feet.
* Keratin (also known as compressed hair) is the most important substance to the horn of a rhino.
* Polar bears belong to left handed animal species.
* Komodo Dragons, a kind of monitor lizard, has similar features with a real dragon. It can grow as much as four meters and its weight can reach 250 pounds at the most.
* The Nine-banded Armadillo (also known as Peba) can produce offspring of either four female or four male little armadillos.

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* Reindeer Can survive extreme weather condition simply by eating moss. Moss keep their body warm and help them to survive.
* Contrary to common belief, Beavers are not vegetarians. They favorite diet include among others, small aquatic animals, leaves and bark of hardwood trees.
* By its sturdy built, pigs literally can look up into the sky.
* Bats are orderly mammals, they always turn left when going out of caves.
* On average, a baby blue whale adds more or less 200 pounds a day during the first seven moths of its life.
* This is one for the record, do you know that to aid them in digesting food, crocodiles need to eat rocks!
* A shark egg holds the record for the biggest egg on earth.
* Three months of continuous sleep is all a snail needs to last the next three years without eating.
* Goldfish are shy creatures, it will turn white if it is kept in a very dark room. Also, it has a very poor memory that lasts for three seconds.
* The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Animal Kingdom: The Misconceptions

From flying fish, dancing snakes to an immortal jellyfish, the animal kingdom is not spared with misconceptions. Read on to learn which is true and which is not.

If human have myths, legends and tales to live on, the animal kingdom can boast of some fascinating if not strange misconceptions. From flying fish, dancing snakes to an immortal jellyfish, the animal kingdom is not spared with misconceptions. Read on to learn which is true and which is not.

Fish can fly

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We all know that fish spent its entire life swimming below the surface of water and need to stay underwater for its survival. But did you know that there are some species who have also learned, practiced and mastered the art of flying. Those flying fish belong to the fish family Exocoetidae, consisting of 64 species grouped in seven to nine genera.

To get away from its predator, flying fish using its large pectoral fins take short glided flights to propel themselves out of the water. By swishing its tail to about 50-70 times per second, flying fish are able to muster up enough momentum to burst through the surface. In so doing, it could rise into the air up to 11 meters and glide up to 50 meters.

Fish can walk

Believe or not, fish can walk! Yes, underwater and on land, these exceptional creatures are capable of walking. On land, some species like the Climbing Perch or the famous Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus) can do the trick. Storing and using oxygen to survive, they can leave their natural habitat and walk on land to get to another stretch of water.

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If you're not impressed by the capability of the fish species mentioned above, then take a look at the batfish! Though a poor swimmer, batfish have adapted well to its environment and mastered the art of walking underwater. Yes, literally walking using its limb-like pectoral fins! What a spectacular act for a small, slimmed-bodied fish that grows to about 36 cm.

Turtles can’t crawl out of their shells

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By watching cartoons and animated films, we can be misled into believing that turtles can crawl out of its shell. That’s a lot of non-sense! The true fact is–a turtle’s shell is basically an integral part of its skeleton consisting of hard bony plates that are merged to its spine and ribs. If you want to see a brutal way to kill a turtle, then try separating the turtle’s body from its shell. I bet you’ll not do it.

Males can get pregnant

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For humans, giving birth is definitely a woman’s responsibility. But definitely, this ‘childbirth thing’ does not hold true apply to all creatures. In the animal kingdom, the male seahorse is literally the one who gets pregnant. The male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on his front side. During mating season, the female seahorse deposit’s the eggs in the male’s abdominal pouch, where they are fertilized. The male seahorse holds the eggs until they are hatched, expelling them out in the water. On average, these baby seahorse numbers between 100 to 200.

Electric eels aren’t eels

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The electric eel gets its name by its capability to stun prey and deter predators using massive amount of electrical charge its body generates. These notorious creatures live in the muddy ponds and streams of the Amazon basins in South America. Their bodies contain electric organs which when threatened or attacking prey, is capable of generating electric shocks. Electric shocks can cause respiratory or heart failure and in some rare cases led to death. But did you know that electric eels are not true eels but rather a knife fish (Gymnotiformes), more closely related to carp and catfishes.

Bats aren’t blind

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Contrary to common belief, bats are not blind! Most species depend heavily on their remarkable sense of hearing to sense their preys. This process, called “echolocation” aid bats to navigate even through darkness. However, there is a species of bat known as Fruit bat or flying fox that uses its eyes to determine its locations. Flying fox locates and catches its prey such as small insect in midair using smell and acute vision. Rather than, relying on its ears, it instead uses excellent eyesight to track down its prey. Flying fox feeding ranges extend up to 40 miles.

Flamingoes aren’t born pink

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Genetics and not food is the major factor determining color of animals. However, there is an exception to this view. In general, flamingoes are born with white plumage, but why then they undergo color transformation as they grow older. The culprit– the food they eat. Flamingoes’ diet includes insect larvae and saltwater shrimps which both contain pigments called “carotenoids” in turn responsible for the change in feather color (from white to pink).

Penguins have long legs

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Another animal misconception is about “Do penguins have short legs”. Definitely, this isn’t true, people arrived at this notion since penguins waddle and their fur conceal their true body shapes. In reality, penguins have surprisingly long legs. We are misled to believe that these flightless birds own short legs because penguin stand in a crouching position. But why take this posture–simply to retain as much heat as possible.

Snakes are deaf

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Here’s another misconception that arises when we see snake charmers do their trick. It is believed that snakes are charmed or hypnotized as they hear music from a snake charmer’s flute. Believe it not, in reality, snakes are deaf! The snake charmer body movement plus the vibrations picked up from the ground are the reasons why charmed snakes respond to the music.

Not all animals have to die

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Even before the time of Cleopatra, men have been in continuous search for the “fountain of youth”, but sad to say that a species of immortal jellyfish has beaten us to the draw. Turritopsis nutricula, a tiny species of jellyfish has found the secret of immortality. It is capable of reverting completely to a polyp stage after having reached sexual maturity. To be biologically immortal, this metazoan undergoes a process called “transdifferentiation” whereby the cycle can repeat indefinitely. Only when the nerve center is separated from the body that this process comes to a halt.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Animal Kingdom: The Cunning Cheaters

“If humans can, why can’t we”, this could be the slogan of some animal cheaters. It is well-known to us that there are some individuals who’ve cheated their way to the top, and for the animal kingdom, this could be true and be done. Read on to know which animals are breaking or bending the rules to gain the initiative or just to survive.

From using deceptive looks to attain what they want, to gaining a headway from uncontrolled circumstances, these cunning animal cheaters might make you think that cheaters at times do win.


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Most of us know what a fox is. Foxes are medium-sized animals that are smaller than a domestic dog. They have long, narrow snout, erect ears and a bushy tail. Foxes regular diet includes; rabbits, rodents, fish, birds, amphibians fruits and berries. But did you know that these animals have a great passion for birds' eggs! However, some birds like the Rhea are bigger than them, so foxes designed a cunning way to snatch the eggs. They wait patiently until mother Rhea leaves her eggs and then quickly steal them. But because Rhea’s eggs are bigger and foxes can’t grab it in their mouth, they use their snout to roll the eggs and knock them against hard objects hoping the eggs will break down eventually. Isn’t that a cunning move?


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Rats are such cunning cheaters when it comes to food. In the United Kingdom, rats are considered food menace and villains. Rats are cunning cheaters, using every advantage they have in their possession to gain the upper hand. With a population of around 70 millions, rats eat their way through more than 200 tons of waste food each year. Add to this, rats are hard to kill, for they are extremely fast, clocking with a 60 miles/hour top speed.


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“Liar” that is the real meaning of the word “Chameleon” in some languages and true enough Chameleons are great liars and cunning cheaters. Their main features include the eyes, tongue and skin. So remarkable are chameleon’s eyes that it is able to observe separate two different objects at the same time. Isn’t it incredible, but before you say Ah! Let us examine a chameleon’s tongue. It has a tongue that is larger the size of its body and can extend faster than the human eye can follow. Also, a chameleon‘s tongue has a muscular and sticky tip it uses to catch prey.

Another cheating act a chameleon is good at is its ability to hide its presence from probable prey or enemy by changing its skin color. These colors may include red, pink, orange, blue, green, yellow, black and brown. Some varieties of chameleon use, their color-changing ability to blend in with their surroundings, as an effective form of camouflage. Also, change in color depends on the animal’s health status, presence of mate, dangers from enemies, temperature change and other environmental factors.


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A caterpillar can be treated as a cunning trickster, employing all the skills he got just to ensure his survival. Some caterpillars are good at mimicking their surroundings, including leaves and branches just to blend in. There are those who can mimic other things, like bird droppings! Other caterpillars are poisonous to predators. They are tricky bandit; stealing poisons and getting their toxicity from the plants they eat. Generally, the brightly colored larva are poisonous; thus warning their predators not to harm them or else take the risk of being poisoned. And did you know that a caterpillar native to Hawaii owns the record as the only flesh-eating caterpillars in the world.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

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The Alligator Snapping Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. You can easily recognize it from other turtle by its large head, beak-like jaws, and a spiked shell and thick, scaled tail. Alligator snappers spend most of their lives in the rivers, canals, and lakes. So strong are its jaws, that a single bite can take your finger off. However, the cheat is its unique hunting skill to lure its bait.

The interior of the alligator snapper’s mouth is camouflaged, and the tip of its tongue sports a worm-shaped flesh. This worm-like appendage mimics the movements of a real worm that serve as bait to lure a prospective meal. The turtle, then opens its mouth and wait motionless, and if a suspicious fish moves in for a closer look, the turtle’s awesome speed and its mouth brute strength completes the ambush. it’s a simple ‘now you see-now you don’t’ case of cheating.


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When we speak of fireflies, what come to our mind is a romantic moment with a bright evening sky setting. However, with more than 2,000 firefly species, there’s a big possibility that some individuals may have some sinister intentions. Generally, these fireflies or lightning bugs emit light to lure mates. However, the female Photuris fireflies are known to be good cheaters! They mimic the luminescent signals of other “lightning bugs” to attract them as possible meals, as well. Aren’t they sly cheaters?

Hanuman Monkey

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Having a Hindu monkey god for a namesake could be the best ticket to fame! Thus, the Hanuman monkey took this privilege to the limits. Since, Indian holy men usually travel bringing along with them Hanuman monkey, this highly respected monkey has been blessed with an “Eat all you can” card. Many people leave them unmolested and even allow them free access to anything in their hands could grab–foods, drinks, toys, hankies and other small objects. However, this has made the Hanuman monkey fearless and a total cheat for it steals with impunity! Guess it is not fame he gets but shame.

Virginia Opossum

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The Virginia Opossum is about the size of a house cat. It is typically 38–51 cm long and weigh between 4–6 kg. Its ears are thin and hairless, short legs, clawless big toes and a grayish brown fur. The Virginia opossum has adapted different cunning ways it uses to survive. Among these behaviors are: running, belching, urinating, growling, belching, and even defecating.

But one intriguing behavior Virginia opossum exhibits to cheat death is by attempting to fake death. This is where the term “playing possum” originated, meaning an attempt to pretend to be dead or injured with intent to deceive. This marsupial will roll over, become stiff, and produced a slow and shallow breathing. It will remain in this state for several hours or until its predator walks away thinking that he really is dead. What a cunning way to cheat death.


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According to several researches, experts agreed that orangutans are the world’s most intelligent animal other than humans. They are more intelligent than chimpanzees when it comes to higher learning and problem solving ability. And like humans, orangutans have learned the skill to craft tools out of the objects they found.

For example, they have found a way to keep dry during rainy days by making umbrellas out of leaves, also, they have used the leaves as cups for drinking water. However, orangutans use their craftiness to cheat on humans– often using their tools to pick the locks of their own cages. Zookeepers in return, use orangutans to test other zoo animals cages security stability.

Cuckoo Bird

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Topping our list of cunning animal cheaters is the female cuckoo bird. Though most cuckoo species are monogamous, the Anis and the Guira Cuckoo are exceptions. And unlike non-parasitic cuckoos that lay white eggs; these two species are parasitic cuckoos; laying colored eggs which they put in communal nests.

In accomplishing this feat, femaleAnis and the Guira Cuckoos raid other birds nests and snatch the eggs. Then they will leave their eggs behind as a replacement for the stolen eggs. That is cheating #1, soon as the eggs are hatched, the young cuckoo must learn to adapt to its new environment along with the other chicks to ensure its survival. There goes cheat #2 and what a classic “Mother and Child” tandem.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Lovable and Comical Boxer

A great dog breed that will keep you laughing and smiling! You will definitely love to own this lovable and comical boxer.

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The Boxer was developed in Germany in the late 19th century. The breed is a cross between a Mastiff (the now extinct Bullenbeisser), and bulldog brought in from Great Britain. One of these first boxers was the pure white “Blanka.” They were initially used for hunting,as cattle dogs, cart pulling, and bull baiting purposes. Today, the breed is utilized as watchdogs, for police work, and military works.

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The Boxer is a compact, medium-sized, short-haired dog breed. The breed has a chiseled head in proportion with the body. It has a short back, strong limbs with well developed muscles. The eyes are dark brown. The muzzle is dark in color with facial wrinkles and wide, open nostrils. The ears are set high and the tail is normally docked.

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Boxers have shiny, smooth, firm, Shorthaired coats. Coat colors range from beige, brindle, fawn, tawny brown, and red with white markings (flashing) that often appear onto the face. A ‘white’ boxer is described as that of one with white markings covering more than one-third of their coat. Adult males measure between 56-63 cm, while bitches can reach between 53-61 cm. Adult males weigh around 27-32 kg and bitches between 24-29 kg.

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The breed is known for being loyal and affectionate to his master and can get along very-well with children. The boxer is highly intelligent, obedient, comical, energetic and a playful dog. It is patient, friendly, dignified, courageous, and self-assured. Also, a boxer is a very cheerful companion, but distrustful of strangers. The breed by nature is not the aggressive-type, but when provoked, it is a fearsome watchdog.

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Boxers are very intelligent but can be boisterous. For that reason, obedience training is a must. The breed enjoys training, learns easily and loves to perform tricks. Some have worked as guide dogs as well as guard dogs. Training should start young and must consist of fairness, firmness, and consistency. If not properly trained boxers tend to be unruly, demanding, and stubborn. Caution: It is not advisable to train your dog to dominate another dog.

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Boxers will do fine living in a small household or apartment with an average-sized yard. adequate Boxers are playful and are active indoors. It is important to keep them stimulated to prevent boredom. The breed lives best in temperate climates. These dogs may drool and snore.

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An active, energetic, agile and athletic breed, boxers requires daily work and exercise. Regular walks and playing ball will them happy and maintain good health. Special concern: boxers tend to fight among themselves.

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The Boxer’s smooth, short-haired coat requires minimal grooming. This breed is an average shedder, thus regular brushing using a firm bristle brush is recommended. Bathe only when necessary. Boxers are normally clean and groom themselves. Since the breed is known to have a sensitive stomach, essential diet is needed.

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Boxers are susceptible to some health issues, including skin allergies, knee and back problems, arthritis, hip thyroid and heart problems. Adults are prone to cancer and epilepsy. Some white Boxers are prone to deafness.

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The life expectancy of healthy Boxer is between 11 to 14 years.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Animal Kingdom: Fashion Trendsetter or Disaster?

When we talk about fashion it comes to keeping up appearances. Fashion gurus have their DO’s and DON’Ts, and the same observations apply to the animal kingdom. While many animals look gorgeous and smart, others need a beauty expert intervention.

From a frog the has sagging skin to a deer that one's teeth that dentists will find it hard to fix, for glamorous body color and over-sized claw, here are the top 10 animals that simply need a major makeover!


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Porcupines are rodents that grow to about 63–91 cm long, weigh between 5.4–16 kg, with a 20–25 cm long tail. There are about 24 porcupine species, easily recognized by their coats of 30,000 sharp spines or needle-like quills. Porcupines use their quills for defense which may be lethal to attacking enemy if hit.

However, this defense mechanism can backfire since fellow porcupines are not immune to the quills’ sting. Porcupines need to climb high trees just to feast on their favorite diet–leaves and small twigs. Problem is, this expedition may turn out to be a disaster, porcupines often fall and impale themselves with their own spines. Isn’t it ironic? Being harm by your own defense mechanism.

Titicaca Frog

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The Titicaca Frog (Telmatobius culeus) is a very unusual looking frog found only in Lake Titicaca, South America. It is a big challenge for this frog to live in a lake 10,000 ft above sea level where it has to deal with very thin oxygen supply. The key to their success is staying below the lake’s surface.

Despite the fact that Titicaca Frog has small lungs, mother nature has given it special characteristics. It has found an efficient method on how to survive the hostile environment–More skin! This explains why Titicaca frog has saggy skin that can stretch over 50 cm (20 in) wide. We can picture this frog as a little child dressed in his father’s baggy coveralls.

Male Fiddler Crab

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Male fiddler crabs have one of their feeding claws greatly enlarged, which may comprise up to 40% of their total body mass! This enlarged claw is used to challenge males to fight and guess what– to attract females for mating.In this case, the saying "Size does matter" suits well. Male fiddler crabs dig burrows where the females visit at least 100 prospective mates before settling for one. However, this super-sized claw has its drawback. Male fiddler crabs encounter a hard time eating and worse, with a claw to big to conceal, they are an easy target for predators. Now, having a big claw is a blessing and at the same time a curse to a male fiddler crab.

Male Peacock

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Male peacock is best known for its glittering tail feathers, which it uses to attract females during courtship. Females carefully check out their suitors’ feathers before settling on one. A male’s tail can measure up to 2.4 m (8 ft) wide and covered with more than 200 feathers can indicate his status, age, and enthusiasm.

Peacocks with the bluest blue eyes on their tail are considered to be the healthiest. However, the peacock that owns the most extravagant feathers faces a big problem – too many feathers mean difficulty in taking off or flying. Add to this, the poor peacock may find it hard to elude his predators.

White Bengal Tiger

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The White Bengal Tiger is what we may call beauty and beast in a package. This solitary animal is well-known for its unusual coloring which is caused by a mutant gene. In the case of the White Bengal tiger, having fair complexion is a great liability. Though, its ‘whitish look’ doesn’t affect its health, it does affect their survival ability. White is not the best color to have in the jungle, as a result White Bengal Tiger population in the wild is now dwindling down. The big question right now is – have fate played a big joke on this poor animal?

Male Lion

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For the male lion, a hairdo can never be too big or too dark. Its mane is the most distinctive trait for this unique cat. The male lion’s mane starts to grow around age two that surrounds the neck. He uses it for attracting the ladies. The mane can vary in color from tawny/tan to black. And the more brunette the mane is – the better his chances to pick his mate. However, having a darker mane has its disadvantages; it receives much sunlight, which makes the lion’s body temperature soar. Add to its sperm count drop. I guess being bald is beautiful after all!

Male Guppy

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A small species of fish about only a few centimeters long, male guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are well-known for its natural varieties and form. While female guppies sports a rather are usually dull green to yellowish-Green in color, male guppies are the colorful sex in this species. Male guppies can generate lots of following when it comes to fashion. In developed strains the male features larger and colorful spots, splashes and stripes on the body and fins.

And these features are great factors for male guppies to catch the attention of females. However, predators have an easy time locating them due to their brightly colored bodies. Perhaps, male guppies should resort to ‘black fashion statement’ for their safety.

Sage Grouse

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When it comes to courtship rituals, the Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) can proud itself to own one of the best methods to lure a prospective mate. During spring, male ones gather together on a lek (common breeding ground) and perform a “strutting display”. The male sage grouse has two whitish balls beneath his feather which it fills with air and makes a soft booming sound that can be heard from up to a couple miles away!

The male sage-grouse then struts around with his tail feathers, which serves as a signal for females to pick the most attractive male to mate with. This sing-and-dance routine can be a top candidate for “the weirdest talent show ever”. However, this mating ritual has also its drawback– only a number of males do most of the breeding. And with a population where the females outnumber the males then beggars can’t be choosers!


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How would you react if people call you a 'pig-deer'. I guess you’ll be disappointed if not, get mad. Did you know that there is a deer that owns this moniker. A native to Sulawesi, Indonesia, Babirusa grows a canine tooth that vertically penetrates the snout, pierce the skin, and reaches through the roof of its mouth. These long upper tusks is not only ugly, but pose a risk to male bureaus’ own survival. Poor animal, he is in for a big headache! He needs a major face makeover if the teeth continue to grow– and worst he is in for a big headache! if the tusks curve back and lodge into his brain.

Male Deer

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Our choice for the top spot goes to the male deer and credit it to its rack of antlers. Most species of 'True Deer' have large, remarkable antlers with several tines, which can grow up to 2 meters wide and can weigh more than 36 kg. That is a very impressive headdress and a crowd drawer! In fact, the “Best Headdress” could be a tough contest to judge knowing each deer species has its own characteristic antler structure. Male deer use their antler to head-butt its rival during the mating season. However, rivals run the risk of locking together.