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The white-tailed deer is the smallest among the deer family found in North, Central and South America. They have a white tail when displayed vertically.
See the fact file below for more information on the white-tailed deer or alternatively, you can download our 27-page White-tailed Deer worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy and Life Cycle
- Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus
- Common Name: White-tailed Deer
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Herbivore
- Group Name: Herd
- Average Size: 6 to 7.75 ft
- Average Weight: 110 to 300 lbs
- Average Lifespan in Captivity: 6 to 14 years
- White-tailed deer typically live in fields and meadows near streams or rivers during summer. They also inhabit coniferous forests in winter.
- Among the North American deer family, they are the smallest. They are native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.
- White-tailed deer are also introduced in many countries including New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Czech Republic and Finland.
- In western Oregon and southern Washington, Columbian white-tailed deer dominate the population.
- “White-tailed” refers to the white underside of the deer’s tail usually shown whenever they feel danger.
- Male white-tailed deer are called bucks and are distinguished by their large antlers during summer and fall. Come winter, the antlers fall off and grow again the next year.
- Adult buck have reddish-brown coats during the summer heat, which fades to grayish-brown in winter.
- A female deer is called a doe, while young deer are called fawns.
- White-tailed deer are herbivores, meaning they eat wide variety of greens including leaves, twigs, nuts, fruit and grass.
- They have good eyesight, an extreme sense of smell and acute hearing. They can run up to 48 kilometers per hour and leap as high as 10 feet.
- They are crepuscular animals, making them most active at dusk and dawn. Other than good sprinters, white-tailed deer are good swimmers.
- In the northern parts of their range, white-tailed deer mate in late October until early November while in the southern parts rutting occurs in January and February.
- The gestation period for females lasts for 6 ½ months. After this period, they will give birth to between 1 and 3 reddish-brown spotted fawns.
- At birth, fawns are able to walk. They nurse for 8 weeks until vegetation is added to their diet. After a year, male fawns usually leave while female fawns stay with their mother until 2 years old.
- An average doe reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 ½ years but some can also be pregnant at 6 months old depending on the availability of food.
- Antlers are used during the mating season when males fight to breed with females.
- White-tailed deer have preorbital, forehead, tarsal, and metatarsal glands, which allow them to produce scent.
- Other members of the Cervidae family, including elk, moose and mule deer, also have antlers. Antlers are bone formations that develop from the pedicle on the frontal bone of the skull. Male fawns begin to show buttons for antlers as early as 4 to 5 months old.
- In the wild, most white-tailed deer live about 2 to 3 years but their maximum lifespan is 20 years.
- Among their natural predators are wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, jaguars and human hunters.
- Using the Bergmann’s rule, white-tailed deer are larger in size the farther away from the equator they live.
- In the Andes, white-tailed deer are larger with thick and slightly woolly looking fur.
- Although it is unusual for a doe to have antlers, it is possible due to freemartinism or an imbalance in testosterone.
- Like humans, they have thirty-two teeth.
- Like cows, they have a four-chambered stomach enabling them to digest tough plants.
- At 18 months old, deer lose their baby teeth and grow permanent ones.
Behavioral Traits and Conservation Status
- White-tailed deer are ‘flight animals’ using their speed and agility to outrun predators.
- They communicate with one another through several types of vocalization such as grunts, bleats and wheezes.
- They usually gather in family groups composed of mothers and fawns. When a doe has no fawns, she lives alone. Male deer also live in small groups of three to five bucks, except during mating season or rut.
- When looking for food, mothers leave their fawns in hiding places until they come back.
- Bucks partake in sparring sessions to test strength and dominance over the fraternal group. It actually prevents real fights that may cause extreme injuries and death. They also mark their territory by a buck rub or removing bark from trees with their antlers.
- In 2005, there were an estimated 30 million white-tailed deer in the United States after commercial exploitation of deer became illegal in 1930.
- Ecologists and hunters support conservation programs for white-tailed deer in the U.S.
Other EnDEERing facts
- The white-tailed deer is the official state animal of the following states: Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
- Furthermore, it is the national symbol of Honduras and Costa Rica.
- Over 4 million white-tailed deer are found in the state of Texas.
White-tailed Deer Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about white-tailed deeracross 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use White-tailed Deer worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the white-tailed deer is the smallest among the deer family found in North, Central and South America. They have a white tail when displayed vertically.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- White-tailed Deer Facts
- Deer Facts
- Deer World
- Oh Deer Life
- Look at My Body
- Deer Terms
- Scientific Classification
- Deer Hunt
- Deer Challenge
- Fact or Bluff
- Compare and Contrast
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Link will appear as White-tailed Deer Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 30, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.