Difference Between Gazelles and Deer

Gazelles vs Deer

Gazelle and deer are two different animals of two different taxonomic families. They exhibit many distinguishable differences between them. Despite there are many important factors to discuss their distinctions, the available literature about these two animals together are rare. Therefore, this article would carry some importance, as this is an attempt to discuss those differences. The important characteristics of each animal are presented briefly, before going in to the comparison.


Gazelles are small bodied but long horned animals of the Family: Bovidae. There are 13 species of gazelles described under three genera, but it is still in debate among taxonomists about the number of species and genera. Gazelles belong to the group of antelopes, and they are swift animals with the ability to gain the maximum speed up to 80 kilometres per hour. Their swiftness is extremely useful to overrun their predators. Gazelles are known for their unique behaviour called stotting. In other words, when they notice a predator around them, they start to move slowly and suddenly leap very high and flee as speedy as possible, which is an excellent behavioural adaptation to evade predators. Gazelles have different coat colours according to the species, as some of them look much like springboks but the colours are a little more contrasting and the faces are browner in gazelles. Their horns are long, slightly curved backwards, wrinkled, sharply pointed, and thick at the bases. Gazelles live in grasslands and sometimes in the deserts of both Asia and Africa. However, there had been some recently extinct gazelles including Red gazelle, Arabian gazelle, and Saudi gazelle. The remaining species are considered as threatened or near threatened. According to many sources, the lifespan of a gazelle varies around 10 – 12 years in wild and 15 years, in captivity.


Deer are a highly diversified group of small to large animals with about extant 62 species belonging in the Family: Cervidae. Their habitat ranges vastly from deserts and tundra to rainforests. These terrestrial ruminants naturally range in almost all the continents except Antarctica and Australia. Physical characteristics viz. size and colour differ vastly among species. The weight ranges from 30 to 250 kilograms depending on the species. There are exceptions to both ends of the weight range as moose could be as high as 430 kilograms and Northern Pudu is about only 10 kilograms. Deer do not have permanent horns, but branched antlers are present, and they shed them annually. Their facial glands in front of the eyes produce pheromones those are useful as landmarks. Deer are browsers, and the alimentary tract contains a rumen associated with the liver without a gall bladder. They mate annually, and the gestation period is about 10 months varying with the species, larger species have a longer pregnancy. Only the mother provides the parental care for the calves. They live in groups called herds, and forage together. Therefore, whenever a predator gets around, they communicate and alarm to move out as soon as possible. Usually, a deer lives about 20 years.


What is the difference between Gazelles and Deer?

• Gazelle is a bovid while deer is a cervid.

• Deer vary their body size in a wide spectrum, whereas gazelles do not vary that much in their weights.

• Gazelles can run faster than the deer.

• The stotting behaviour is observed among gazelles but not in deer.

• Gazelles have permanent unbranched horns while deer have annually shed branched antlers.

• Gazelles have a small lifespan compared to most of the deer.