Deer are often considered dedicated herbivores, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a cut of steak from time to time. Contrary to popular belief, deer will occasionally eat meat if the opportunity presents itself—which usually means finding a dead bird or squirrel while browsing. It is especially tempting during harsh winters, when food is in short supply and a frozen critter is nothing more than a nutritious snack. The animals will even raid gut piles and human food if the need is high enough.
Deer eating live prey, on the other hand, can be much more disturbing to watch. Most of this is due to the animal’s utter inexperience in killing prey. More often than not, a deer will just generally dispatch its prey by chewing it repeatedly, a decidedly painful way to go. Thankfully most deer stick to anything that doesn’t move or try to escape.
You can see nine examples of carnivorous behavior by deer below, although we have to warn you, it may make you look at these “harmless” animals in a new light. You can also read more about the meat-eating habits of deer here.