White Tailed Deer

October 11th, 2010

The white-tailed deer also known as Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States (all but five of the states), Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate.

The deer’s coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.

The white-tailed deer is highly variable in size, North American male deer usually weighs 60 to 130 kg (130 to 290 lb) Whitetail deer eat large varieties of food, commonly eating legumes and foraging on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti, and grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, and corn.

White-tailed deer communicate in many different ways using sounds, scent, body language, and marking. All white-tailed deer are capable of producing audible noises, unique to each animal. Fawns release a high-pitched squeal, known as a bleat, to call out to their mothers. A doe makes maternal grunts when searching for her bedded fawns. Grunting produces a low, guttural sound that will attract the attention of any other deer in the area. Both does and bucks snort, a sound that often signals danger. As well as snorting, bucks also grunt at a pitch that gets lower with maturity. Bucks are unique in their grunt-snort-wheeze pattern that often shows aggression and hostility. Another way white-tailed deer communicate is with their white tail.

When a white-tail deer is spooked it will raise its tail to warn the other deer in the area that can see it.
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