White-Tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

“White-tailed” refers to the white underside of the deer’s tail, which it displays and wags when it senses danger.

Characteristics: White-tailed Deer are reddish-brown with a white belly and tail in Summer. In Winter, the reddish-brown changes to grayish-brown They have hooved feet, slender bodies, and long, thin legs.
White-tailed deer are herbivores and ruminants. They chew their food, swallow it, regurgitate it, and then swallow it again. Their stomachs have four chambers. The first chamber is called the rumen. The rumen has bacteria in it that helps break down plant matter. Male deer (bucks) have antlers while females (does) do not.

Life Span: Wild deer live up to 10 years. Captive deer live up to 20 years.

Habitat: Deer are edge species – they prefer those transitional spaces between forested areas and open spaces, such as agricultural land, grass land and human areas.

Range: The white-tailed deer can be found in southern Canada and most of the United States, except for the Southwest, Alaska and Hawaii.

Diet: White-tail deer eat large varieties of food, commonly eating legumes and foraging on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti, and, grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, and corn. Their special stomach allows them to eat some things that humans cannot, such as mushrooms and poison ivy.

Behavior: White-tailed deer are very nervous and shy; they wave their tails from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. White-tailed Deer can run up to 36 miles per hour. They are great swimmers and can leap over 10 feet high and 30 feet long.
White-tailed deer have scent glands between the two parts of the hoof on all four feet, outside of each hind leg, and on the inside of each hind leg. Scent from these glands is used to communicate with other deer. They also produce several types of vocalizations such as grunts, wheezes, and bleats. These vocalizations are used for communication.

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