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Organism Profile: The Northern White Tailed Deer

1183 words - 5 pages

The Northern White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is one of the largest wild animals in the northeastern area of the United States. This species can be upwards of four feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds. Typically, this animal is found in forests, fields, and brush areas in the Northern region. In warmer months the White-tailed deer have a reddish brown coat with a white belly. In the winter months this deer’s coat changes to a gray-brown color. The male deer in this species are known as “bucks” and have antlers on their heads that can span upwards of three feet across. The female variety is known as “does” and the young deer are known as “fawns” both do not have horns. They typically are nocturnal and feed usually in the early morning or late evening. The White-tailed deer is an herbivore and they eat a variety of green plants, acorns, fruits, nuts and even twigs if need (bioweb, nd).
I am studying the White-tailed Deer populations that are located at Fort Indiantown GAP Pennsylvania. This area has a diverse biome that consists of populated areas, deciduous forests, fields, waterways, and many other types of habitat. I set up my observation area in a deciduous wooded area near a stream and a small lake. I have observed deer paths in this area as well as numerous amounts of deer scat.
The Northern White-tailed deer have a polygynous mating system (fcps.edu, nd). Most white tails mate in their second year but it is possible for females to become sexually active after only seven months. The male species are polygamous but may develop an attachment to a doe for several days or weeks. The female species come into heat in November for only twenty-four hours. If the female is not mated she will have a second heat approximately twenty eight days later (Dewey, 2003). Mating occurs in the fall and gestation lasts for six and a half months. Generally, during the first breeding a female will produce one to two fawns, but may produce up to four fawns in subsequent years.
Fawns are born able to ambulate and nibble on vegetation only a few days after birth. Young deer are nursed for eight to ten weeks before they are fully weaned. Young females may follow their mother around for up to two years, but most males will often venture on their own after a year. The life span of a White-tailed deer is up to twenty years. The average life span is only two years and many parish before they reach the age of ten years.
The White-tailed deer is an herbivore. This specie has a range of approximately one mile where it feeds. The diet of this specie varies depending on habitat and season. In the warmer months it eats green plants and in the colder months it eats corn, acorns, other nuts, or what it can to survive. The White-tailed deer does not have the ability to store extensive fat reserves. Food shortages in the winter months often contribute to malnutrition and starvation. When a deer is unable to sustain itself its’ body will...

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