Daisy, the young fawn, is one of my favorite characters to write, mostly because she was suggested to me by my Granddaughter, Caitlin. Cait was about nine years of age at the time. As Daisy's personality developed, I was surprised to discover this little fawn had taken on some of Cait's behaviors and attitudes. I have to admit this made Daisy's character easier to write, and it was a lot more fun.
When the first book, Topaz and the Evil Wizard was written, Daisy had not yet come on the scene; however, when I wrote the revised edition of this book, I felt compelled to at least give her a mention. For all intents and purposes, Daisy should have been in the first book. When you read it, I'm sure you'll see why.
Daisy was hardly more than two hours old when Otis, the great owl, rescued her from a flash flood in the Mountains of Scarford. Unable to save her parents, Otis brought the tiny creature to the Knownotten Castle where he knew she'd be well cared for until she could fend for herself. The old Elf king loved her from the moment he saw her, and so Daisy became a permanent resident. Not only did she have the run of the castle, Daisy (unlike my granddaughter) was spoiled beyond belief. King Kittle could find no fault with her no matter what she did.
Fawns are one of the world's most adorable animal babies, and I love to collect pictures of them on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/talesoftopaz/
The Gestation period for a fawn is about ten months. Most fawns are born with white spots that fade by the time they are a year old. Although families stay together, young fawns are cared for by their mothers. Deer may birth one or two fawns at a time. Triplets are rare.
A mother deer wastes no time cleaning her newborns with her tongue. The youngsters must be as scent free as possible if they are to avoid detection by predators. Newborn fawns take their first steps within the first twenty minutes after birth. There's a heartwarming video of this on Wikipedia. It's important for fawns to get their legs under them soon after they are born. They need to stand in order to nurse.
All deer belong to the herbivore family. They are designed by nature to derive their nourishment from living plants, and they are selective about what they like to eat. Fresh, easily digestible greens and tender young twigs are more suited to their four-chambered stomachs. They also like lichen, fungi, and fruit. The deer around our way love our neighbor's new rose buds. And because deer are such excellent jumpers, the barbed wire fence that separates my neighbor's back yard from the wild landscape behind it is no deterrent.
I was surprised to learn that deer are indigenous to every continent in the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. On Wikipedia, I also learned that deer have facial glands in front of their eyes that contain a scent used to mark their territory. They do this by rubbing their faces against trees around their home site. Unfortunately, following these 'rub' marks is one-way hunters can track deer.
Another thing I didn't know is that all deer have antlers. Hence the need for a calcium-rich diet in greens. The female deer have what is better described as small stubs. The female reindeer, however, are the exception. They grow the real deal.
Deer have excellent night vision. This is due to a layer of specialized tissue behind the retina that reflects visible light and increases the light in the photoreceptors. Not only does this increase the animal's night vision, it's also responsible for 'eye shine', giving the pupils that spooky glow in the dark feature.