White-tailed deer

Odocoileus virginianus

The white-tailed deer has a tail with a white underside that is used as a "warning flag" to alert other deer to danger. White-tailed deer are now fairly common, but in the early 1900s they were almost eliminated by unregulated hunting. The male deer or "buck" grows antlers starting in the late spring and sheds them in late winter after the breeding season. The female deer or "doe" typically has twin fawns in the spring. White-tailed deer can run fast (up to 40 mph) and jump high (up to 10 feet), so they're hard to catch. Wolves and panthers were their main predators, but now these predators have been eliminated from much of the white-tailed range. This is another factor that has allowed the white-tailed deer population to increase. In some areas there are so many deer that they damage forests and crops, and cause traffic accidents.

White-tailed deer eat leaves, twigs, grass, fruits, nuts, and digest their food with a four-chambered stomach. This special stomach will even allow the deer to eat some plants and mushrooms that are poisonous to humans.

Photo credit: Larry Korhnak


Learn More