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The Secret Lives of Wild
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The Secret Lives of Wild Animals — Text-only | Flash Special Report
Deer

Quick Facts
WHITE-TAILED DEER
(Odocoileus virginianus)

SIZE
Mature deer are 31-40 inches tall at the shoulders, 51-83 inches long and weigh 110-300 pounds. Females are usually smaller than males.

HABITAT AND RANGE
White-tailed deer are found in almost every part of the continental United States, except California, Nevada and Utah. Their range extends north into most of Southern Canada and south into Central America and Bolivia.

Ideal habitat for white-tailed deer consists of forested land containing dense thickets with surrounding fields or croplands.

DIET
White-tailed deer feed on grasses in the spring and summer, mast—including acorns and apples—in the fall, and twigs, buds and leaves in the winter. They can cause significant destruction of crops, fruit trees and flower or vegetable gardens.

CHARACTERISTICS
White-tailed deer generally feed from before dawn until several hours after, and from late afternoon until dark. They raise their namesake white tail as an alarm signal. Bucks shed their antlers every winter and grow them back in the spring.

Images:
Wildlife biologists are directly observing deer movements using a miniature, wireless video system to study factors that influence their behaviors.
Credit:
Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation