THE
WHITE-TAILED
DEER


Where they live?

This deer can be found in southern regions of Canada in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

It likes the wooded areas where it can hide in the trees and eat leaves.

Appearance

The white-tailed deer is about 2 metres in length and 1 metre high to the shoulders.

Males have large antlers that make them look taller. They shed the antlers in the winter but a new set grows in the summer.

US Fish and Wildlife

In the summer the back and sides of the deer's coat are brown. In the winter the brown coat turns greyish. The stomach and insides of the legs are white. The underside of the tail is white.

photo  2000 John White


Food
Deer eat grasses and leaves. They will also eat mushrooms and berries. In the winter deer nibble on twigs and buds. Deer also eat the grain that is left in farmers' fields after the harvest.

The white-tailed deer eats its food twice. It has four stomachs. The deer starts eating early in the morning. It gobbles down grass and leaves to fill the first stomach. Then while it takes a rest the food goes into the second stomach where it turns into little balls. Now the deer can bring the food back up to its mouth and chew it well. The chewed food goes to the third and fourth stomachs.

photo  2000 John White

The young
One or two fawns are born in May. They are able to stand and walk shortly after birth. Newborns are protected by a lack of scent. Their enemies cannot smell them. The mother keeps the young fawns hidden in the thick bushes. Fawns' coats have hundreds of white spots which disappear when they are 3 to 4 months old.

a spotted fawn
The mother does not stay with the fawns but checks up on them 5 or 6 times during the day to feed them. The young deer stay with their mothers for one or two years.

A buck fawn (young male) has bumps on his skull where the antlers will grow.

Enemies
Man, the wolf, lynx, coyote, bobcat and cougar are the deer's enemies. Even though a deer is very fast a pack of wolves or coyotes is able to catch them. The deer cannot run fast if the ground is covered with deep snow. The deer's thin legs sink into the deep snow.
a deer in the snow
Protection and adaptations
When the deer is alarmed it raises its tail like a flag and dashes away. The flash of white fur warns the other deer.



Deer have a keen sense of smell, good hearing and good eyesight.

With its antlers and sharp hooves the male deer can sometimes kill a wolf. It will butt the wolf with its horns and then stamp on it with its feet.

To prepare for the winter deer grow a thick coat and eat alot of food to store up body fat. If it is a very long and cold winter deer may gather in small groups for protection from the cold.


CANADIAN ANIMALS | MULE DEER


images: (deer1.jpg, deer4.jpg) Copyright 2000 John White
from CalPhotos Berkeley Digital Library Photo Collection;
fawnwh.jpg courtesy of Berg, W. J., US Fish and Wildlife Service
deer3.jpg courtesy of USFWS

J.Giannetta
jgiannet@hotmail.com
1999 (updated 2006, 2011)
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