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 White Tailed Deer 
White-Tailed Deer

picture White-tailed deer are graceful, swift, and agile. They can run over 48 mph on open range and can bound over a 6 foot fence from a standstill. They were named for their habit of lifting their tails like flags, flashing the white underside, when they run.

As the most consistently found large prey item, white-tailed deer are critical to the health and survival of the Florida panther.

Deer are herbivores and are most abundant along the edges of forests where cover and forage are available. In southwest Florida, marsh vegetation is also an important component of their diet. They feed on new shoots of many types of trees and shrubs as well as on leaves and twigs. They also eat acorns, fruits, berries, and even mushrooms. They eat the bark of several types of trees, scraping it with their bottom incisors. They generally feed around dusk and dawn and rest during the day in thickets or in patches of dense tall grass.

Deer have excellent eyesight and hearing and a keen sense of smell. Because they don't eat meat, deer lack upper incisor and canine teeth.

Males (called bucks) grow antlers each spring and shed them each winter. Growing antlers look like they are covered with velvet. The size of antlers and the number of points is determined by nutrition and genetics. Young deer (less than 3) and older deer (older than 8) have fewer points and smaller racks than deer in their prime (3-8). Biologists think this is a result of physical condition as well as genetics.

During breeding season (in Florida from September to early March), males become very aggressive and use their antlers in contests with other males to determine access to females.

Bucks mark their territories by leaving their scent in two ways. Just before or at the beginning of breeding season, they rub their antlers against trees. They also use their hooves to scratch the ground. They then move their hind feet close to their front feet and urinate. The urine runs over glands in the inside of their hide legs and carries the scent to the ground.

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    The Hendry Foundation, Inc., is a Tax-exempt organization Described by IRS Sec. 501(c)(3).
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    Immokalee , Fl 34142
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