White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
A typical white-tailed deer stands about 3ft at the shoulders. Their coats vary from grayish to reddish brown; fawns have white spots which fade as they mature. During most of the year, males have large antlers. These are shed in late winter and regrown by mid-spring. White-tailed deer are named for the white fur under their short tails, which they lift when they are startled.
White-tailed deer are very adaptable and can be found throughout most of the United States. They inhabit woodlands, swamps, brushland, and farmlands. They require both dense undergrowth in which to hide, and forest edges to browse from.
White-tailed deer are herbivores. They feed mainly on leaves, buds, and twigs of trees and shrubs, and will also consume nuts and fruits. These deer are able to stand on their hind legs to reach food sources above their heads.
During the breeding season in the late fall, males compete among themselves for access to the females. In the spring, the females give birth. Most females give birth to twins. The female hides her newborn fawns in the undergrowth for a few hours at a time while she forages. As the fawns grow, they begin to accompany her. The fawns are weaned between 4 and 6 months of age. Males disperse once they are a year old; females might stay with their mothers until they are two. White-tailed deer have a potential lifespan of over 20 years, but they usually live to be 2 or 3. In some areas, older deer are more common.
Fun Fact: White-tailed deer can run at speeds up to 35 mph, and are capable of jumping obstacles over 8 feet high.