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Deer Senses – and the Sixth Sense

Posted by Jennifer Smith on 25th Apr 2016

Deer and humans share common senses including hearing, tasting, smelling, seeing and touching; but did you know that they have a ‘sixth sense’ only made available by the vomeronasal organ? Most people don’t know that this is there! The sense works like a nose in the roof of a deer’s mouth. “When a deer opens its mouth the “inside” nose sniffs the air and the air goes right to the part of the brain that controls reproduction.” (“Deer Senses” on QDMA Rack Pack)


Deer have trouble seeing red and orange; but they can see green and blue well. This is why hunters wear vibrant orange while in the woods and some try to avoid wearing camouflage. In addition, deer have trouble focusing and cannot perceive depth like humans.


Deer use their sense of smell to locate food and predators. It is one of the most important senses for a deer. Smell is affected by wind speed – fast wind can make it harder for a deer to sense predators or locate where the scent is coming from.


Taste is influenced by the sense of smell. Taste determines which plants to eat and which plants to stay clear – especially if they contain a deer repellent on them (yuck). They can detect sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness and texture – just like humans.


Deer have eye lashes to protect their eyes from piercing branches and other outside factors. In addition, deer’s antlers are very sensitive when in velvet. This sends a spark to the brain that makes them aware of the height of the antlers, keeping them aware so they don’t damage them while rummaging in the woods. How cool is that?


This is the most important sense for a deer, as they can sense noise quite well. This, ultimately, can save their life from predators including animals and hunters. Deer move their ears in multiple directions, as they have trouble hearing what is behind them.

Have any other questions about deer? Contact a representative today.

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