White-tailed Deer - Wildlife


Appearance

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are 4 to 6.5 feet in length (nose to tail), stand 3 to 3.5 feet at the shoulder, and weigh between 95 and 190 lbs. Body color ranges from grayish-brown to reddish-brown with white underbelly, throat and large distinct tail.

Adult bucks grow antlers which they shed in winter. Fawns are reddish-brown with distinct white spots on their back, rump and sides.

Behavior

Deer generally pose little threat to humans, their property, or pets. Several environmental, public health and safety concerns can be associated with high density deer populations.

Breeding season is October through January. Gestation is approximately 28 weeks. Fawns are born March through June. Does produce a single fawn their first breeding season and produce 2 to 3 fawns each subsequent year.

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn. Deer in suburban and urban areas become increasingly active during the day.

Deer herds are family groups primarily comprised of related female deer. Bucks are generally solitary but can form small bachelor herds.

Deer face little threat from natural large predators in Virginia. Deer mortality is primarily a result of deer-vehicle collisions and hunting. Fawns are preyed on by coyotes, bobcats, and red foxes.

(More species information)

Diet

Deer are herbivores. A natural diet includes herbaceous and woody plants, vegetables, fruits, fungi, and acorns. A modified diet can include garden plants, ornamental plants, agricultural crops and grain.

Habitat

Deer inhabit woodlands, grassland and meadows, wetlands, rural, suburban and urban areas of Fairfax County. Deer are an “edge species” and use wooded areas for protective cover.


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