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If You Give a Deer a Cracker

Deer in Nara, Japan

Nara is a beautiful city, often overlooked by travelers. It is famous for it’s many temples that are all recognized as World Heritage Sites, and of course for their sacred deer (shika) that roam freely on the temple grounds. It is popular to buy shika senbei, which are rice crackers used to feed the deer. The following is my story of what happens if you give a deer a cracker.

If You Give a Deer a Cracker

Feeding a deer in Nara, Japan

If you give a deer a cracker,

He’ll not want to eat your stupid cracker.

When you hold out the cracker,

He’ll probably stick out his tongue and turn his head in disgust.

Deer sticking out it's tongue in Nara, Japan

When you try to offer it again,

Then you start to notice why he doesn’t want your cracker.

Children feeding deer, Nara, Japan

When there’s someone handing out better food, you know you have no chance,

So you move to a new area further away.

When you offer a cracker to these new deer,

He’ll take a little interest in your cracker.

Closeup of a deer, Nara, Japan

He might sniff it and then finally nibble away at it.

He may even call his friends over to get a cracker as well.

When all his friends come over,

You’ll give them every cracker you have.

He’ll continue to call more friends over, even though you’re out of crackers.

When his last friend comes and you don’t have a cracker, he’ll get angry.

Angry deer, Nara, Japan

So you try to back away from the angry deer,

When you back away he’ll just follow you.

He’ll start nipping at you and head butting you.

He’ll even start to rip apart your purse, hoping you’re hiding more crackers inside.

When you spot a temple, you try to run inside to escape the deer.

Then you notice, there’s nowhere the deer can’t go.

Which is bad for you when no one will help you as you’re getting attacked.

Nara Temple Entrance

He’ll continue to follow you, until you direct him to another poor soul handing out crackers.

Looking around, you spot a baby deer.

Baby deer in Nara, Japan

He’s sniffing the air and the lingering scent of crackers will remind him that he’s hungry.

So…

He’ll approach you and let you take photos of him.

And chances are if you stop and hold out your hand to give him a pet,

He’s going to want a cracker to go with it.

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Have you been to Nara? What was your experience with the deer?

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8 Responses to If You Give a Deer a Cracker

  1. Christy July 30, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    They are so cute and this is too funny. Good thing they don’t have antlers.
    Christy recently posted…5 Things You Might Not Know About ScotlandMy Profile

    • Beth Williams August 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      They do have antlers! Well, a little bit. Each October they hold a ceremony for cutting the antlers, but the rest of the year they let them grow. Luckily, I visited in early November, just 2 weeks after the antler cutting ceremony. :)

  2. Jenn July 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh my gosh, what a fun looking place! I’m sure the deer can get a little pushy, just like the goats at any petting zoo that gets a lot of traffic. They are used to getting fed and when they don’t, they get a little ornery. Still though, not only does it look like a beautiful place, it looks like a lot of fun too!

    • Beth Williams August 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      It really is such a fun place! One of my favorites in Japan. If you ever get the chance to visit, do go!

  3. Shalu Sharma July 29, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Its amazing how these deers are roaming around freely on the temple grounds. Quite fascinating.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted…My India travel survival guide for women ebook now available on AmazonMy Profile

    • Beth Williams July 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      It’s really nice to have them roaming freely… definitely a reason many tourists visit Nara.

  4. nicole July 16, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    I have not been to Nara. But, based on the adorableness of your photos, that is a place I’d like to visit. How cute!!!
    nicole recently posted…We’re Nuts About These Travel AppsMy Profile

    • Beth Williams July 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      If you ever get the chance, do go! But be careful of getting mauled by deer. They may be adorable, but they’re also a bit vicious!

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