Communication and Perception
Cervids use three main types of communication: vocal, chemical, and visual. Vocal communication is used primarily during times of fear or excitement. The most common form of vocal communication is barking, which is typically used in response to a disturbance, such as visual contact with a predator or a disturbing noise. Barking is also used as an expression of victory after a competitive interaction between two males. Cervids also communicate through a variety of hormone and pheromone signals. For example, male cervids demarcate territory with glandular secretions rubbing their face, head, neck, and sides against trees, shrubs, or tall grasses. Cervids also use visual communication, known as scraping. Scraping is primarily used during mating season by males to advertise their presence and availability to females. To create a scape, males paw the ground with the forelimbs, producing patches of bare ground about 0.5 m to 1.0 m in width. Typically, scrapes are marked with a secretion from the interdigital glands located between their hooves. In response to a potential threat, some species stand with their body tensed and rigid, while leaning slightly forward, which signals the potential threat to conspecifics.
Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic