White Tailed Deer
- Genus/Species: Odocoileus virginianus
- Conservation Status: Except for two species, the White-tailed Deer is not endangered.
- Location: United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru.
Shy and Easily Startled
The white-tailed deer lives in wooded areas as well as in forests, fields, brushy areas, streams, and marshes. It is tan or brown in the summer and grayish brown in winter. The white-tailed deer has white on its throat, around its eyes and nose, on its stomach and on the underside of its tail. The male has antlers, which it sheds every year, after which it grows new ones. A white-tailed deer is shy and easily startled. When alarmed, it raises its tail and shows its white underside as a warning flag. When a mother deer is running, this white underside can help her fawns follow her. White-tailed deer are excellent runners and swimmers.
The male white-tailed deer is about four feet tall and weighs around 300 pounds. This means it is only as tall as an average nine year old kid, but weighs about twice as much as a normal adult human. It is a plant eater, and feeds in the early morning hours and in the late afternoon. It eats green plants in the spring and summer. In the fall, it eats corn, acorns and other nuts. In the winter, it eats the buds and twigs of woody plants. White-tailed deer have a four-chambered stomach that allows them to digest these plant foods. They gobble up their food quickly and hardly even chew. Later as they are resting, they cough up their food and re-chew it! The highly adaptable white-tailed deer is widely distributed and is flourishing in the majority of their range.
Did You Know?
- Male deer, called bucks, have antlers, up to three feet across, on their heads.
- White–tailed deer can leap high and wide - over eight feet high and thirty feet long.
- White-tailed deer help some plants to spread by pooping out seeds after they eat the fruit.
- A white-tailed deer does not have upper teeth in the front of its mouth. The deer uses its back teeth to twist off twigs to eat.