An edible surprise for the White-tailed Deer

White-tailed

Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

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DESCRIPTION

I’m a White-tailed Deer. The first European settlers in Canada took me for the deer they knew from home. They must have been nuts to mix me up with the European Deer, an animal much smaller than me that weighs only 20kg!

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In colonial times, I could only be found in Southern Quebec. Today I am so abundant in some areas that some people even consider me as nuisance. I have a weakness for apples, corn fields, clover and alfalfa. Mmm! When food is plentiful and when winter brings little snowfall, there is a deer baby boom and then you see us everywhere!

I live here, in Quebec, at the northern limit of my distribution area. I prefer mild climates because I originally lived in the southern United States. By moving northward, I’ve had to make adjustments for the cold Quebec winters. I don’t have long legs like my caribou and moose cousins, and so I have difficulty moving around in snow deeper than
50 cm. To survive the winter, therefore, I congregate with other deer in coniferous forests, in a place called a yard, where we find shelter from the wind and the snow.

I try to find food close to my resting spots. During winter, I must consume at least 100 kg of food in order to meet my minimum dietary needs. I move around as little as possible. It’s a precarious balance – each winter, between 10 and 40% of us die of starvation, particularly the young, called fawns.

Location

White-tailed Deer

Caracteristics

dimension

Total Length 1,6 - 2,2 m
Shoulder Height 90 cm - 1,2 m
Weight M : 85 - 170 kg F : 57 - 113 kg

Lifespan

Record of 10 years in the wild and 23 years in captivity

Habitat

Deciduous and mixed forests, farmland, orchards

Diet

Leafy plants, leaves and twigs, fruit and mushrooms

Reproduction

1 rut per year; 1 to 2 young, occasionally 3

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