The White Tailed Deer


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The White Tailed Deer
-Kelli Johnson

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The White Tailed Deer

  1. 1. The White Tailed Deer By: Kelli Johnson American Public University
  2. 2. The White Tailed Deer  The white-tailed deer is a common animal of North America. White- tailed deer are found in the northeast, mid-western and western states.  I want to research the white-tailed deer because there is a high population of the species in the Northeast and I have always enjoyed seeing them in their natural habitat. (Dewey, Odocoileus Virginianus Animal Diversity Web, 2003) Odocoileus virginianus is the common scientific name for the white tailed deer. Image: (Behrens, David, Young male white-tailed deer, antlers in velvet, 2003 September)
  3. 3. The white tailed deer belong to the mammal family called Cervidae. The deer family first appeared 35 million years ago. The white tailed deer obtain their food by grazing through fields and forests. They are Herbivores that have a varied plant based diet that includes: • Grass • alfalfa • fruits • nuts • leaves • Twigs (White-Tailed Deer) Image: (Myers, Phil, May 30, 2003)
  4. 4.  As discussed, the white tailed deer has a plant based diet. They are known to graze for food around dusk and dawn.  The structure and function of the white tailed deer consists of a specialized digestive system. The Deer has a four chambered stomach. Each chamber has a specific use.  The first chamber of the stomach is called the rumen.  Basic use is for food storage. While eating and chewing their food, deer use a process called ruminating to digest food at a later time. This is when they eat a large amount of food at once, swallow it for storage, and then bring it back up to chew again later.  When the food is brought back up, it contains microorganisms. The microorganisms holds all of the nutrition for the deer.  The second chamber of the stomach is where the fermentation process takes place.  The second chamber is called the reticulum and microorganisms eat the food that the deer has eaten.  This process helps to break down food into simpler substances that are then absorbed as nutrients. (The Digestive System of a Deer) Specialized Digestive System
  5. 5. Reproduction  The main purpose of the buck antlers is to fight for breeding purposes. They will fight to determine who will mate with a doe. They also use their antlers to mark their territory on trees.  The breeding season begins in November and usually lasts until December. During the season the doe will usually be in heat for about 30 hours. If conception doesn’t occur during this time, she will begin her heat cycle after 28 days. The deer are polygamous for the most part, although, some does are known to mate with more than one buck. The gestation period for a fawn is about 200 days. Most does have their babies in the late Spring or early Summer.  The fawn usually weighs about 5lbs at birth. The does will nurse the fawn several times a day until they are strong enough to join the heard. The fawns are usually considered adult by the age of 18 months, but have been known to mate by the first Fall season, at around a year old. (Parr, The White-Tailed Deer Reproduction, 2007)
  6. 6.  The white tailed deer is a highly adaptable species. They can adapt to most climates, warm or cold. They can live in grasslands, prairies and plains, mountains, and forests. Some adaptive traits of white tailed deer have to do with the color of their coat. During winter their coats become a dull, light grayish color to blend with their surroundings. During summer their coats become dark reddish color to blend in with the summer surroundings of the forest. (Parr, The White-Tailed Deer Habitat and Adaptation, 2007) Adaptive Traits
  7. 7. Communication  Communication is a key adaptive trait that they use daily. As a species, the deer has excellent hearing and vision to help them be on alert at all times. The deer stand their white tails up as communication to warn other deer of danger. In a case where they detect danger, they are very fast moving and can reach speeds of 30 mph and jump as high as 6 feet. (Parr, The White-Tailed Deer Habitat and Adaptation, 2007)
  8. 8. Observation I live on a military base in New Jersey. The deer are very populated around the base. There is not a great deal of traffic and mostly wooded areas, which is an ideal habitat for the white tailed deer. I usually see them grazing the fields in the mornings or evenings. You can see from my video that the white tailed deer are a populated species near my home. I observed at least 20 deer grazing one evening in April. The fawn seemed to be interested in me, even walking towards me at times. He seemed curious and cautious. The deer all stopped frozen to stare at me. They eventually ran away after a few minutes, with their tails straight up as they ran off.
  9. 9. Behrens, David (2003, September) Young male white-tailed deer, antlers in velvet, The Animal Diversity Web (online). Retrieved from ributors/david_behrens/Whitetail8/ Dewey, T. and. (2003). Odocoileus Virginianus Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from Myers, Phil (2003, May 30) The Animal Diversity Web (online). Retrieved from ributors/phil_myers/ADW_mammals/Artiodactyla/fawn7810/?start=15 Parr, J. (2007, April 27). The White-Tailed Deer Habitat and Adaptation, Retrieved from Parr, J. (2007, April 27). The White-Tailed Deer Reproduction, Retrieved from The Digestive System of a Deer, (n.d). Retrieved from White-tailed Deer (2012, August 30). Retrieved from References