The Snowy Deer is considered the most elegant creature living within the Goltherlon Forest. Its white fur, for which it was named, is marked in various shades of white. These deer travel in tight herds and are fairly sociable and affectionate creatures when around their own species. They are extremely quick creatures, one of the fastest on Sarvonia, and are hunted both for their meat and their beautiful coats.
The Snowy Deer is one of the smallest breeds of its species, given the average
height of both sexes is just over 2 fores at the shoulder. Males tend to be
about 2.3 fores, while females are typically 2.1 fores. Both sexes are a little
over 3 fores from the tip of their black nose to the end of their little tails.
As their name implies, the Snowy Deer is white, save the tips of their nose and
their hooves. However, the variations of white in the coat vary in different
parts of the body. The two whites most apparent in the coat are a rice white
(pure white), off-white, and tawny white.
The off-white coloration makes up most of the coat and serves as a background to the other markings in the fur. Similar to the starback deer of the plains, the Snowy Deer has many spots on its back, colored in rice white. This shade of white is also painted across the chin, under neck, and belly of the deer, and can be seen in two faint markings just above the eyes and about two or three nailbreadths in front of the ear. The tawny white can be seen adorning the calf in the front feet, as well as a snip of the elbow, and painted across nearly the whole hind leg of the deer.
The hooves of the Snowy Deer tend to be a muddy gray. The legs are long and thin, as is its neck, giving it a very sleek appearance. The muscles in the upper part of the leg give this animal the ability to run at amazing speeds, about 1.1 stral a minute, though they are not capable of maintaining high speeds very long. The heads are narrow and they have small black noses and small mouths. Past the deer's lips, there are no front teeth on top, but rather a thick pad of skin. The front bottom teeth are used for tearing, and the back teeth are used to chew.
The antlers grow between the rather large ears of the Snowy Deer (for while the body size is different to other deer, the size of the ears is exactly the same). Only the bucks, or male deer, grow antlers. The antlers slope back and come to two points. They almost always have a grayish white coloration to them. The eyes of the Snowy Deer are black and are located on either side of the narrow head.
The Snowy Deer ranks as one of the fastest creatures on the continent of
Sarvonia, able to run 1.1 strals per minute
if not obscured by trees and brush. Their strong yet slender legs can help them
to take long jumps as well, and thus help them to avoid danger. However, they
rarely run so fast as getting too far ahead of the herd may prove dangerous,
even fatal, if a predator is watching nearby.
Territory. This small deer can be found exclusively within the Goltherlon Forest. Because the forest of Goltherlon is so thick, the Snowy Deer’s petite size makes it perfectly adapted to its habitat. It helps to serve as prey to the herín, a wild cat which contently makes its home within the trees.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Snowy Deer are fairly peaceful animals for the most part, and are rather social, living in herds of anywhere from 6 to 12. Affectionate towards their own, they will often clean and groom each other, which always makes them appear clean. Snowy Deer travel in close herds, as the group of them together appears as one large group of white deer, and individuals tend to be hard to pick out. Often times the only way for a predator to get a kill is if an older member of the herd falls behind, or a careless fawn wanders away from its mother.
Because of the apparent loving nature of the deer, they seem to have some vague idea behind the meaning of death. They tend to clearly avoid the skeletons of dead Snowy Deer and will briefly take time to recognize when one of their own has died. Does will often get extremely upset if their calf dies and have been known to chase after a predator who has her dead fawn by the throat.
The herd functions often as a small community, and all the nursing mothers will care for the fawns of other nursing mothers and make sure all the little ones are safe and sound. The bucks will often remain in front, led by the dominant male and head up the back, urging on those falling behind. The bucks will also decide when to rest, and typically choose a grassy clearing large enough for all the herd to fit. Herds eat, sleep, and live very close together.
Diet. Snowy Deer are herbivores, eating only plants. They will eat grasses, leaves, bark, twigs, and the tender sprouts of trees and other plants. They will also typically eat lichen and moss, though they are more accustomed to leaves. They especially seem to like the leaves and bark of the baych and ashwude trees. If food becomes scarce, Snowy Deer will also eat the nuts from various plants, such as the nut of the goldenbell bush.
Mating. Fallen Leaf (9th month), when the buck’s antlers are fully-grown, is generally considered the mating season. During this time, the bucks in the herd will be given the chance to fight the dominant male in order to steal his status and win the ability to mate with the female of their choice. Typically this is the largest, healthiest female of the herd. Battles between males are not typically a fight to the death, but can be rather violent. Usually the loser will come away with quite a few injuries. The dominant male will be able to mate with the females of his choosing while the others squabble over the other does.
Usually the mating process is peaceful and quick. The male will board the female’s back from behind. The male remains on top of the female for no more than two minutes, and the process is done. The antlers will fall off by the end of autumn. In spring, the doe's stomach will have become plump and round with the promise of a little fawn. During this time, the herd will slow-down the speed of their roaming to accommodate for the imminent births. All the females in the herd may have their babies within weeks of each other, if not days.
When a doe is ready to give birth, she will lay on her side. Usually members of the herd will surround her to protect her, though none of the other deer will touch her when she is giving birth. The mother doe is extremely vulnerable at this time and she is quite aware. If she feels the least bit threatened she may take brash action that would probably cause the death of her fawn.
After birth, the mother will lick her baby dry. Usually this baby fawn will be able to walk around within a matter of hours. The fawn will stay with its mother for close to a year, sometimes a year and a half. At two years old, the fawn is considered to be an adult and is able to grow antlers or bare young. Snowy Deer typically live 10 to 16 years. A female deer will give birth to between 6 to 8 fawns within that time.
Usages. The coat of the Snowy Deer is one highly prized among fur traders. Many like its soft feel as well as the beautiful white color. Because Snowy Deer hides are hard to come by, they are fairly expensive, and thus are only owned by nobles. As the deer is so petite, it takes at least three hides to make a fur coat. Usually the coat is used as trim to another coat of some more affordable hide. They are also made into pouches and gloves.
The meat of the deer is a delicacy, but only for its rarity. The meat shares a distinctly sweeter taste than most other deer, but besides this small difference, it is practically of the same flavor. The meat can be sautéed with spices or roasted. Travelers just passing through the wood will often dry the meet and carry it with them. Dried deer meat tends to be lighter and lasts longer.
Researchers. A gnomish biologist of the Golgnome tribe by the name of Gralamar Orinth (1412-1594) spent his whole life studying and researching the Snowy Deer, collecting facts and information as well as detailed sketches of their body structure. He studied the bone structure and inner organs by collecting dead Snowy Deer and opening them up. After his death in 1694, his daughter, Maryllan, gathered up his notes and sketches and published them in a book entitled "Snowy Deer of the Gotherlon" in 1602, which still is used today as the main source of reference.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus