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Antelope vs. Deer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 19, 2023
Antelopes are bovids native mainly to Africa and parts of Asia, whereas deer belong to the cervidae family and are found worldwide.

Key Differences

Antelopes and deer are distinct groups of herbivorous mammals. Antelopes primarily belong to the family Bovidae, while deer belong to the family Cervidae.
In terms of distribution, antelopes are mostly native to Africa and parts of Asia. On the other hand, deer species are distributed across various parts of the world including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Antelopes typically have permanent, unbranched horns that can be found in both males and females. In contrast, deer possess antlers which are usually branched and shed annually, and are predominantly found in males.
The body size and weight of antelopes and deer can vary significantly among species. However, deer tend to have a more robust body when compared to the slender build of most antelope species.
While both antelopes and deer are herbivores, their preferred diets can differ. Antelopes primarily graze on grass, while deer are both browsers and grazers, feeding on a mixture of leaves, shoots, and grasses.

Comparison Chart



Native Regions

Africa and Asia


Permanent, unbranched horns
Seasonal, branched antlers

Sex with Horns/Antlers

Both males and females
Primarily males

Diet Type

Mostly grass
Mixed diet: leaves, shoots, grasses

Antelope and Deer Definitions


A mammal with permanent and unbranched horns.
Unlike deer, antelopes do not shed their horns annually.


Herbivorous, feeding on a mix of leaves, grasses, and shoots.
Deer often venture to gardens, munching on plants and flowers.


Often considered agile and graceful animals.
The antelope leaped gracefully over the obstacle.


Belongs to the family Cervidae and is found across many regions worldwide.
Deer are native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica.


Any of several bovid species characterized by slender bodies and long legs.
Antelopes have adapted to a wide range of habitats.


Typically characterized by a slender and long-legged body.
The deer bounded away with a graceful stride.


Generally known to inhabit open plains and grasslands.
Antelopes thrive in savannas where they graze regularly.


A ruminant mammal with branched antlers that are shed annually.
The white-tailed deer is common in North America.


A herbivorous mammal native to Africa and parts of Asia.
The gazelle is a type of antelope known for its speed.


Known for its timid and gentle nature.
The deer in the forest was startled by the sudden noise.


Any of various swift-running ruminant mammals of the family Bovidae, native to Africa and Eurasia and having unbranched horns.


Any of various hoofed ruminant mammals of the family Cervidae, characteristically having deciduous antlers borne chiefly by the males. The deer family includes the white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and caribou.


A pronghorn.


A ruminant mammal with antlers and hooves of the family Cervidae, or one of several similar animals from related families of the order Artiodactyla.


Leather made from antelope hide.


(in particular) One of the smaller animals of this family, distinguished from a moose or elk
I wrecked my car after a deer ran across the road.


Any of several African mammals of the family Bovidae distinguished by hollow horns, which, unlike deer, they do not shed.


The meat of such an animal; venison.
Oh, I've never had deer before.


(US) The pronghorn, Antilocapra americana.


Any animal, especially a quadrupedal mammal as opposed to a bird, fish, etc.


A fierce legendary creature said to live on the banks of the Euphrates, having long serrated horns and being hard to catch.


Any animal; especially, a wild animal.
Mice and rats, and such small deer.
The camel, that great deer.


One of a group of ruminant quadrupeds, intermediate between the deer and the goat. The horns are usually annulated, or ringed. There are many species in Africa and Asia.
The antelope and wolf both fierce and fell.


A ruminant of the genus Cervus, of many species, and of related genera of the family Cervidæ. The males, and in some species the females, have solid antlers, often much branched, which are shed annually. Their flesh, for which they are hunted, is called venison.


Graceful Old World ruminant with long legs and horns directed upward and backward; includes gazelles; springboks; impalas; addax; gerenuks; blackbucks; dik-diks


Distinguished from Bovidae by the male's having solid deciduous antlers


What family does the antelope belong to?

Antelopes belong to the Bovidae family.

To which family do deer belong?

Deer belong to the family Cervidae.

Do antelopes have antlers or horns?

Antelopes have permanent, unbranched horns.

Is it only the male deer that have antlers?

Primarily, yes. However, in some species, like the caribou, females also have antlers.

Are the horns of antelopes shed annually?

No, antelopes have permanent horns that they do not shed.

Do both male and female antelopes have horns?

Yes, in many antelope species, both males and females have horns.

Are antelopes and deer related?

While both are ungulates, they belong to different families.

Where are antelopes primarily found?

Antelopes are mainly native to Africa and parts of Asia.

Which is faster, an antelope or a deer?

Speed varies by species, but many antelopes, like the cheetah-chasing springbok, are exceptionally fast.

Are deer found globally?

Yes, deer are found worldwide, except for Australia and Antarctica.

What distinguishes a deer's antlers?

Deer have branched antlers that are shed annually.

What do deer generally eat?

Deer have a mixed diet including leaves, shoots, and grasses.

How many species of deer are there?

There are about 60 species of deer.

How can I visually differentiate between an antelope and a deer?

One quick way is by their headgear: antelopes have unbranched horns, while deer have branched antlers.

Can both antelopes and deer be domesticated?

While they can be tamed to a certain extent, neither is typically considered fully domesticated like cattle or sheep.

Are there any deer species in Africa?

Yes, there is the Barbary stag in North Africa.

Do all deer shed their antlers?

Most male deer shed their antlers annually, but this can vary by species.

How many species of antelopes are there?

There are approximately 90 species of antelopes.

Are there antelopes outside of Africa and Asia?

Primarily, antelopes are native to Africa and parts of Asia, but some introduced populations exist elsewhere.

Do all antelopes look similar?

No, there's a diverse range of antelope species varying in size, color, and shape.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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