Here at SciWorks, we have two white-tailed deer living in the Forest Edge Habitat located in our Environmental Park. Megan, a doe, was born around 2003 and Buddy, a buck, was born in 2012. Both deer were imprinted as fawns and are unable to be released into the wild.
White-tailed deer are the smallest members of the North American deer family. They range from southern Canada all the way to South America. The age of deer can be determined by their teeth. You can learn how to age a deer by going to this website: http://www.dccl.org/information/deer/deerage.htm.
Adult deer have reddish-brown coats in the summer which fades to a duller grayish-brown in the winter. Male deer, also known as bucks, are easy to recognize in summer and fall due to the presence of antlers. The buck’s antlers grow every year and fall off in the winter months. The antlers bear a number of tines, or sharp points. During the rut, or mating season, bucks use their antlers to fight other bucks.
Does, or females, give birth to one to three fawns during late spring or early summer after a seven month gestation period. Fawns wear a reddish-brown coat that is covered with white spots which helps them blend into the forest.
They are herbivores, grazing on the most available plant foods. They are able to digest a varied diet including leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, lichens, and other fungi. They are primarily nocturnal, feeding at dawn and dusk.
In the wild, white-tailed deer are preyed upon by bobcats, mountain lions, wolves and coyotes. They use speed and agility to outrun predators. They can sprint up to thirty mph and leap as high as ten feet and as far as thirty feet in a single bound.
White-tailed deer got their name from the white underside of the tail which it displays and wags when sensing danger. Today it is a very popular game animal. There are many restrictions and strict game-management measures that are being taken in order to help restore and keep a healthy population.