White-tailed deer

White-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer ranges over most of North and Central America and parts of South America. They live in small bands comprising a family group. The males are solitary except in rutting season and are known to collect herds, battling other males for possession of females.

Deer weigh 80 to 200+ pounds and measure three feet from the point of the shoulder to the ground. They have reddish-brown fur with white undersides and the distinctive white tail that goes up like a flag if it senses danger. Males grow antlers up to 30 inches long that shed and are produced anew each year.

Deer rut in late autumn, and one to four fawns are born to each doe in May or early June. Fawns keep safe while their mothers are foraging for food by hiding in the forest and staying perfectly still; white spots on their backs help to camouflage them against the forest floor. They are weaned after about four months.

The deer’s diet consists mainly of grass, twigs, leaves and acorns. They can live nine to twelve years.