White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus
The white-tailed deer is tan or brown in the summer and grayish brown in winter. It has white on its throat, around its eyes and nose, on its stomach, and on the underside of its tail. The male has antlers. Males weigh between 150 and 300 pounds and females weigh between 90 and 200 pounds.
The white-tailed deer is found in southern Canada and most of the United States, except for the Southwest, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The white-tailed deer lives in wooded areas. In some areas, deer overpopulation is a problem. Gray wolves and mountain lions are predators of the white-tailed deer and help keep their population under control, but because of hunting and human development there are not very many wolves and mountain lions left in most regions of North America.
Other things can change deer populations. Disease and parasites like lice, mites, and roundworms can weaken or kill deer. Young deer and old deer often get sick and die, especially in the winter. Winter is a dangerous time for deer. Their long narrow legs and pointed hooves make it hard for them to move around in the snow and ice, and it is easier for predators like dogs to catch them.
Deer and people are living closer to each other because of human development and growth in both deer and human populations. Because humans and deer often share a habitat, there can be problems for both of them. When a deer's habitat becomes smaller because of human development, deer often eat food from yards and gardens. Deer need to cross roads to look for food and water and are sometimes struck by cars. People can also catch a sickness called Lyme disease from the deer tick.
The white-tailed deer is an herbivore. It follows well-used trails to its feeding areas. It feeds in the early morning hours and in the late afternoon. A deer's diet changes depending on its habitat and the season. 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 mate in November in the northern parts of their range and in January or February in the southern parts of their range. The female has 1-3 fawns after about six months after mating. Fawns are reddish-brown at birth with white spots that help camouflage them. They can walk at birth and forage for food a couple of days later. They are weaned at about six weeks.
When a white-tailed deer is alarmed, it may stomp its hooves and snort to warn other deer. It may also "flag" or raise its tail and show its white underside. When a mother deer is running, this white underside can help her fawns follow her.