Whitetail Deer

Deedee Garcia

Whitetail deer are found in North, Central, and South America. They typically live in wooded areas. When whitetail deer find a place where there is plenty of food, they tend to stay in that area and don’t wander too far from it.

The male whitetails weigh between 100 and 300 lbs. and females weigh between 75 and 200 lbs. A male adult is about 6 to 7 feet tall.

Whitetail deer are herbivores. They like to eat grasses and plant foods. They’ll eat up to 600 different types of plants, including fruit, nuts, acorns, leaves, corn, berries, and even tree bark. Whitetails like to forage around for food at dawn and dusk. They have some sharp teeth which help them chew and grind their food. Their stomachs have four different chambers, which allow them to digest tough vegetation. They can even eat many types of mushrooms which are poisonous to humans.

The whitetail deer changes the color of its coat from summer to winter. In the summer, an adult whitetail has a reddish-brown coat. As winter approaches, that coat fades to a dull grayish-brown. The color change usually happens in just 1-2 weeks.
The males, called bucks, grow antlers each year which fall off in the winter. During the spring and summer, the antlers are coated with velvet, which will eventually dry out. After that, the antlers harden. During the mating season, which is called the rut, whitetail bucks will use their antlers to fight and compete.

A whitetail’s sight is better at night than during the day. Their eyes have more rods than cones, and they see in shades of blue and yellow. They can’t see reds and oranges. They see those colors in shades of gray.

The whitetail’s sense of smell is much more sensitive than a human’s. They have nearly six times as many olfactory cells as a human.

The pregnancy (or gestation) period for a whitetail doe is 200 days. The first time she breeds, she will give birth to only one fawn. After that, she will give birth to either two or three fawns at a time (twins and triplets). A whitetail doe will stay with her fawn for over a year, until she gives birth again.

Whitetail deer can run up to 35-40 mph and can jump 6-8 feet high. They are good swimmers too, and can swim as fast as 15 mph.