Though predominantly harmless, Reaper Deer are viewed across Ulskandar as evil creatures, whose appearance is a bringer of bad luck and ill omen. This is because they have adapted to eat not only vegetation, but have also become scavengers of carrion and they will happily eat fresh or rotting meat with impunity. Because of their size and build, however, they are not suited to hunting themselves, not are their specially adapted canine teeth suitable for hunting, and they are only really useful for tearing meat off carcasses. Their unusual appetite for meat, combined with an excellent sense of smell, means that they are drawn to areas that experience a lot of death, especially cemeteries and battlefields, where they will try to eat the flesh of the deceased. This has led the sapient species of Ulskandar to associate the creatures with death to the extent that spotting one in the wilds, even if it is a purely accidental encounter, is regarded as a sign of the viewers imminent death.
Anatomy & Morphology
In physical form Reaper Deer bear a very close resemblance to other types of deer, though they are almost exclusively found with a black, grey or grey-blue coloured pelt and yellow eyes. A male Reaper Deer is typically 175 to 250 cm long and weighs 160 to 240 kg; a female is typically 160 to 210 cm long and weighs 120 to 170 kg. Only the males grow antlers, which start to develop midway through the spring season, and are shed at the beginning of winter. These antlers can be up to 5kg in weight, and can reach a length of up to 150cm. Reaper Deer antlers will grow in a similar way to those of Red Deer. All Reaper Deer have large distinctive canine teeth, which protrude from their upper jaws and over the sides of their lower jaws
Ecology and Habitats
Reaper Deer have been spotted in a variety of habitats including grasslands, moors and forests at a variety of altitudes. The only place they have never been observed is deserts.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Reaper Deer are omnivores, eating a wide variety of vegetation, but they have also adapted themselves to eating carrion and meat that has been left over from the kills of other animals.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
It is thought that Reaper Deer can step in and out of the Feywild at will as a way of avoiding predators, and those who have tried to hunt them frequently report the animal disappearing into thin air, only to reappear in another area of the forest. For a while it was thought that Reaper Deer were able to teleport, but interactions with denizens of the Feywild have informed scholars that they actual step into the different material plane, and re-emerge in a different place. In addition, Reaper Deer have an excellent sense of smell, which has been finely tuned to pick up the scent of blood and rotting flesh. It is not uncommon for Reaper Deer to smell freshly drawn blood in the air and begin appearing in an area where an animal or sapient individual is badly wounded, and wait for them to die. This is one of the reasons that they are treated as a sign of ill omen.