White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

Origin: North America, much of South America, and introduced to parts of Europe.

Lifespan: In the wild, they average at 4.5 years. In captivity, the can live up to 14 years.

Size:

  • Males, known as bucks, average from 150 to 300 lbs.

  • Females, known as does, weigh  from 88 to 198 lbs.

  • White-tailed Deer are known as the smallest of the North American deer.

 

Diet: Herbaceous

  • They forage for plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti, prairie forbs, and grasses

  • Deer can eat around 2,000 pounds of plant matter annually.

  • Known as a ruminant, they have a four chambered stomach that allows them the ability to consume poisonous mushrooms and ivy.

  • Their feeding habits change with the seasons.

 

Activity: Crepuscular and nocturnal

 

Reproduction:

  • Breeding season, also known as the rut, takes place in late October.

  • Females can birth one to three young, known as fawns, 

  • The bucks compete for breeding rights.

  • Fawns are born with spots, they lose their spots in their first summer.

  • The average age for maturity is 18 months. 

  • Fawns are capable of walking  after borate and nibbling on vegetation just a few days later.

 

Extra Facts:

  • They are excellent swimmers, swimming up to 15 mph. They often use water as a means to escape predators.

  • They are extremely agile and may bound at speeds of up to 30 mph. 

  • White tailed-deer have many sent glands.. The four main glands are the preorbital, forehead, tarsal, and metatarsal glands

  • They communicate through scent, sound, body language, and marking

  • 1 in 10,000 females can grow antlers.

  • Males regrow their antlers every year. The antlers harden due to calcification.

  • Predators include: wolves, cougar, and alligator etc.

  • Deer are the primary host for the black-legged tick, which transmits Lyme disease bacterium to humans.

  • They have very good eye sight and sense of hearing.

  • They are a color blind to the colors; red, green, and orange. These colors are seen as shades of gray. This makes it possible for hunters to wear bright orange safety vests without being seen by the deer.