Antlers: 10 Interesting Facts You Should Know

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If you came to our page, you are definitely a deer lover! After all, who doesn't love these beautiful and intelligent creatures? However, there's more to them than just cute looks and fun lifestyles!

Antlers are their most unique feature and there are so many stories about them! Did you know, for example, that they are the fastest growing mammalian bone and the only mammalian organ that can grow back once lost from the pedicles (the bases on which they grow)? If we've got you curious enough, read on to learn more absolutely incredible facts about deer antlers!

1. Does have no antlers—with one exception!

female reindeer have antlers
Female reindeer are the only females in the deer family to grow antlers.

Deer have antlers; it's true – but not all deer! Only male deer grow antlers. However, this works for all species except female reindeer. They are the only female deer in the deer family to grow antlers.

Cows (female reindeer) grow antlers in May or June, while male antlers grow in March or April. Additionally, they are smaller and have fewer branches than male reindeer.

Although this is not a natural occurrence, antlers may also grow from females in the subfamily Antara (red deer, white-tailed, black-tailed, or roe deer) with high testosterone levels, but they are usually smaller and misshapen.

2. Antlers are the fastest growing mammalian bone!

Antlers grow from the pedicles, which are attachment points on the buck's skull. If the calf is born on time, its antlers will begin to grow in the spring or summer and will grow about 3 to 4 inches per week. Once a deer reaches adulthood, antlers grow nearly two inches per week. However, some antlers don't grow as fast, but we'll talk about that later, so read on!

While growing, they are covered with velvet. The main goal of velvet is to provide oxygen and nutrients to the bones. At first, the structure is cartilage, but then becomes bone tissue. The fuzz disappears when the antlers are fully grown; that is, when the antlers become a sequestrum structure.

Antlers are considered the fastest growing mammalian bone, as they can grow up to an inch per day.

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3. Not all male antlers are fully branched!

Have you ever heard the word "ear" next to "deer"? While it might sound like a deer at first glance, we'll tell you it's not at all! Spike deer are deer under one and a half years old and have not grown fully branched antlers. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, malnutrition, or late birth, all of which are interrelated.

Experts have previously said that the important factor is genetic predisposition. If the genetic potential is low, no matter how good the nutrition is, it will not help the deer grow antlers. However, other experts who have potentially followed spike deer antlers say that good nutrition can actually help them grow healthy, full-sized and branched antlers. Therefore, they advise people to give Suilu a chance to mature!

4. Antlers are the only mammalian organ that can grow back!

Once the "cycle" starts again, the antlers will grow back.

© Navarro

Did you know that deer shed their antlers, which grow back once their "cycle" starts anew? This is why antlers are often used as a model for numerous studies focused on regeneration of mammalian organs, the results of which can be further applied in the field of regenerative medicine.

Only some deer shed their antlers, and a lot depends on what they eat, where they live, and what species they are. For example, some equatorial deer may never shed their antlers, while others shed their antlers once a year.

The antlers will grow back, but they may vary in size because many external factors can affect their development. However, the antlers grow larger each year as the deer ages, before reaching their maximum size.

Once the antlers have been cast, the deer has an open wound at the top of the pedicle. These wounds bleed briefly and turn into scab-like structures within 2-3 weeks.

5. Antlers play an important role in a buck's social life!

First, antlers play a major role in sexual selection. The larger the antlers, the more likely the buck will mate.

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Second, they are very important in men-to-men games. In these fights, bucks use their antlers as physical or psychological weapons, which means they display their antlers to demonstrate strength, strength, and fertility competitiveness.

Furthermore, antlers are directly related to the stag's social status – the heavier the antlers, the more important the stag is in "society." Among other things, bucks with larger antlers are believed to have stronger immunity to pathogens.

6. Antlers have been found to be 'living' parts

While some sources state that once the velvet is gone, the antlers turn into a dead bone structure, say the authors of Hard fallow deer antler: A living bone till antler casting? The tough antlers were found to have parts of "living bone cells, active osteoblasts, osteoid, and even early stages of trabecular microcallus formation."

In short, this means that bones are constantly remodeling. In addition, they found a well-developed vasculature, with the pedicle bone having capillaries and blood vessels connected to major branches. This vascular system is thought to keep the antlers moist, helping the stag during combat.

The authors concluded that the antlers had an adequate blood supply almost before the antlers were cast.

7. Antlers can be used as hearing aids!

Moose Size Comparison - Moose in the Field
Moose use their antlers for hearing.

©Michael Liggett/

Did you know that moose use their antlers to hear? Moose have large, sensitive ears. If they have large antlers, their hearing becomes more acute, which helps them survive in the wild, as they can more easily hear predators approaching.

One study showed that the antlers of a moose can improve its hearing by 19%. This has to do with the shape of the antlers. Their palms act as parabolic reflectors, increasing the sound pressure.

So far, no other deer has antlers that could act as hearing aids, said study author George Bubenik. At least there is no evidence of this!

8. Deer antler extract is popular with athletes

Today, deer antler extract is widely used by bodybuilders and athletes for its IGF-1 content — an insulin-like growth factor, sometimes called somatomodulin C, a hormone that plays a major role in children's growth and can Helps repair and build muscle tissue. However, this has not been scientifically proven.

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9. Antlers have been used in medicine for over 2,000 years!

While many studies have focused on the uses of deer antler (which we've already mentioned), few have looked to emphasize the basic uses of deer antler.

Chinese medical records presented by a study show that deer antler root is believed to "invigorate the kidney, invigorate the spleen, strengthen bones and muscles, and promote blood flow." For more than 2,000 years, it has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat uterine fibroids, mastitis, breast hyperplasia, mumps in children, malignant sores and other diseases.

The authors of the study gathered information from numerous sources. They found that velvetline does have anti-osteoporosis, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-fatigue, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidative, hypoglycemic and other effects. These may be related to "bioactive compounds amino acids, peptides and proteins". However, these mechanisms still need further study.

10. Antlers are a food source for other animals!

You already know that deer shed their antlers. Well, these discarded antlers are a major source of phosphorus, calcium, and other minerals that are vital in the diets of other animals. For example, squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, and mice feed on discarded antlers. They are extremely important in areas where the soil does not have high levels of these minerals.


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about the author

jeremiah wright

I have seven years of professional experience in the content field, focusing on nature and wildlife. Besides writing, I also enjoy surfing the Internet and listening to music.

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  2. Journal of Experimental Biology, available here:
  3. Science Direct, available here:
  4. Wiley Online Library, available here: