Odocoileus virginianusdeer

Family

  • Cervidae

Lifespan

  • Most white-tail deer live 2-3 years in the wild
  • Maximum lifespan in the wild is 20 years, but very few live past 10 years
  • Average lifespan in captivity 16 years, but as long as 23 has been recorded

Size

  • Height: 31.5-39.4 inches at the shoulder
  • Length: 5.25-7.25 feet
  • Weight: 125.5-301.8 pounds

Range

  • Most of southern Canada, all of the continental United States except a few states in the west, throughout Central America to Bolivia

Habitat

  • Very wide range of potential habitats
  • Big woods, deep saw grass, hammock swamps, farmlands, brushy areas, cactus and thornbrush deserts
  • Ideal habitat would contain dense thickets to hide in, and edges, to provide food

Diet

  • Herbivore
  • In eastern forests: buds and twigs of maple, sassafras, poplar, aspen, and birch as well as many types of shrubs
  • In deserts: huajillo brush, yucca, prickly pear cactus, comal, ratama, and various tough shrubs
  • Conifers are utilized in the winter when food is scarce

Reproduction

  • Polygynous
  • Mating occurs from October to December
  • Gestation approximately 6 and a half months
  • Fawns are able to walk at birth and nibble on vegetation within days
  • The first time a doe has a litter, typically only one offspring is born, but in subsequent years 2 through as many as 4 fawns can be born at a time

Special adaptations

  • Characteristic white tail, very easy to see them as they run away with their tail up
  • Able to run at speeds up to 30 mph through tangled terrain in a forest

Interesting facts

  • White-tailed deer are the shyest most skittish of the deer
  • They are remarkable swimmers, often going into large bodies of water to escape terrestrial predators and bothersome insects, or to reach remote islands with potentially untapped food resources

Conservation status

  • CITES –Not evaluated
  • IUCN –Least concern

Sources

  1. Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 2016. http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Odocoileus_virginianus/
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  3. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.