White Tailed Deer

(Odocoileus virginianus)

WT deer

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 can be found in southern Canada and most of the United States, except for the Southwest, Alaska and Hawaii.  The white-tailed deer is an herbivore or plant eater. 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.

The white-tailed deer is a ruminant. Its stomach has four chambers for digesting food. In the first two chambers the food is mixed with bile to form the cud. The cud is regurgitated and re-chewed and swallowed. Finally, the food enters the last chamber, where it is sent on to the small intestine where the nutrients in the food are absorbed. This digestive system lets the white-tailed deer eat foods like woody plants that other animals can’t digest! If deer have enough food, water and shelter, their population can grow very quickly.

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.

White-tailed deer are very good runners. They can run at speeds of up to 30 mile an hour. They are also good leapers and swimmers.

On display at WILD VALLEY ADVENTURE PARK

Information collected from http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/whitetaileddeer.htm

Pic from http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/illinois-plans-hunting-permit-reductions#stream/0