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White-tailed Deer are the largest wild animals in Northern Virginia. They are found in forests, fields, brushy areas, streams, and marshes. We are now seeing them more in gardens, lawns, and along highways too.
White-tailed Deer are reddish-brown with a white belly and tail in Summer. In Winter, the reddish-brown changes to grayish-brown. Male deer, called bucks, have antlers, up to three feet across, on their heads. Female deer, called does, and baby deer, called fawns, do not have antlers.A large buck can be four feet tall and weigh up to 300 pounds. Females are smaller.White-tailed Deer are mostly nocturnal, but can be seen any time of day. They do most of their feeding early in the morning or when the sun is going down.
White-tailed Deer form small groups for much of the year. There are two kinds of deer groups. One is a mother deer and her fawns. One female deer may have up to three fawns at a time. The other type of group is made up of between three and five bucks. Bucks try to prove their dominance (whoâ€™s toughest and in charge) by ramming each other, as well as kicking and flailing with their legs. Bucks also mark their territory by making rubbing their antlers on trees.
In the Winter, White-tailed Deer meet up and form herds, sometimes with more than a hundred deer. Winter is also mating season.A doe has from one to three fawns in a litter. It usually depends on the age of the doe and how much food is around. Fawns stay with their mother for almost a year. She drives them off before she has a new litter.A doe leaves her fawns hidden in brush while she feeds. Sometimes she leaves them for up to four hours. They do not move while she is gone.
Life Cycle: The male deer is called a buck, the female a doe and the baby is a fawn. Around the Philpott area, a mature buck will have an average weight of 150 lbs., while the doe will usually weigh 100-120 lbs. The doe will have a single fawn during her first birth and usually twins each following year. Just two deer, with no predation, can produce a herd of approximately 40 deer in only 7 years.Deer can live in the wild for up to 11 years.
Deer need food, water, and cover to survive. If they have these things and are undisturbed, they will live in an area of only 1 square mile (640 acres) for their entire life. Deer establish a territory and will not leave;they have been known to starve to death rather than leave their territory when their food supply was depleted.
In the fall, a buck will display his set of newly grown antlers. The buck will use his antlers to mark his territory by scraping bark from small saplings and as weapons to fight rival bucks for dominance to obtain does during the fall mating season, or rut. At Philpott, bucks begin growing their antlers in early Spring. They are mature by early Fall.While growing, the antlers are covered by a fuzzy, skin-like material known as velvet. The velvet is rich with vessels, carrying blood and nutrients to the rapidly growing antlers. The velvet dries and falls off when the antlers mature.
Antlers are the fastest growing tissue in the animal world. Most bucks in this area usually shed their antlers in late December to mid-January. In early times, our ancestors used deer antlers as weapons, tools, and in religious ceremonies. Bucks have probably evolved to shed their antlers annually so they can replace damage in the form of broken beams and points or tines. Damage is usually a result of fighting with other bucks.
Facts: Newborn fawns have virtually no scent and will lay still all day while their mother is away feeding. Their perfectly camouflaged coloration helps to hide them from predators.Deer have a digestive system very similar to a cow . This allows them to eat large amounts of food at dusk and dawn and then quickly go back to their â€śsafeâ€ť cover areas. During their resting periods during the day or at night, they can â€śregurgitateâ€ť small amounts of the food they consumed earlier and rechew it (like a cow â€śchewing its cudâ€ť).Deer have a thick winter coat which is a grayish-brown.
Their winter coat is shed in the spring and replaced by a thinner reddish-brown summer coat.The underside of a deerâ€™s tail is white and when theyâ€™re threatened youâ€™ll see them running away with their tail straight up and the white fur flared out.Deer can run up to 37 miles per hour and have the ability to leap over an obstacle up to 8Â˝ feet high. Theyâ€™re also excellent swimmers.Does and fawns will stay together for most of the year and in separate groups from the bucks.
Deer make lots of different noises including snorts, wheezes, grunts, coughs, and bleats. A baby deer looking for its mom sounds a lot like a baby lamb. If food supplies are readily available to keep the deer healthy, does will usually have twin fawns and sometimes even have triplets.
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You can also from time to time find helpful hints at http://nypestpro.blogspot.com.
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