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White-tailed Deer - Research Paper Example

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The white tailed deer or the Virginia deer is the most widely distributed hoofed animals in the United States. Its scientific name is Odocoileus virginianus. As Patent (2004) describes, thirty eight types of white tailed deer live in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. It has a brownish gray body with white hairs on the under side of the tail…
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White-tailed Deer
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Download file to see previous pages It has a brownish gray body with white hairs on the under side of the tail. During summer its color is reddish brown. Today the white tailed deer population is 18 million (pp. 5-11). They are found in deserts, swarms, farmlands, prairies. They mostly prefer living in open lands near the rivers and streams. As described in Zwaschka (1999), an adult male deer grows 41 inches tall and weigh about 160 pounds.(72 kgs) Female deer (doe) is smaller in size and they weigh 40-90 kgs on an average. The weight of white tailed deer varies from region to region. They live up to 10-20 years. It is herbivore and its feeding hours are in the early morning and late after noon. Its diet changes depending on the habitat and the season (pp. 4-10). It is a shy and cautious animal. They are good runners, leapers and swimmers. In alarming situations they flag their tails and run. The bucks alone have antlers that grow annually and fall off in the winter. Female deer gives birth to one to three young ones at a time, usually in the May or June. Their gestation period is 7 months. They are nocturnal and crepuscular animals. They are preyed up on by bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions. The scientific classification of white tailed deer; Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Cervidae Subfamily: Capreolinae Genus: Odocoileus Species: O. virginianus (Source: Squam Lakes Natural Science Center). Life Cycle The breeding season or rut extends from October to January though the majority occurs in October- November. Both bucks and does are seen active and they get out of their nocturnal habits during the breeding season. Patent (2004) describes the life cycle of white deer; the bucks rub their well developed antlers against big trees to mark their territories. These signs are called rubs. Bucks often fight with each other using antlers but fatal injuries are rare. During winter they shed off their antlers. But, antlers grow very fast, and those which grow will be stronger than the previous ones. (pp. 5-11). Antlers get their nourishment from a highly vascularized membrane called velvet which dries off which is rubbed against trees and shrubs. Fully grown antlers mark the breeding season for the bucks. Fawns are born after a 200 day gestation period. Two to three fawns are born in one litter. For the first few weeks the doe hides the fawns by themselves. The fawns have a spotted coat for the first 3-4 months but it is lost when the first winter comes. As described in National Geography website, when the mother goes in search of food the fawns lay flat on the ground quietly among the grass. They are scent free for few weeks to safe guard themselves from predators. Deer reproduces quickly and can over populate the area. To keep check on their numbers natural predators like bobcats and coyotes play a significant role (National Geography). Structure and function The organ system of the white tailed deer is same as that of any mammal. But its digestive system requires special mention. The front of the upper jaw bone does not have any teeth like other mammals. Teeth are replaced with a resilient pad which is in contact with the lower incisors. As Deal (2010) illustrates, they have 32 teeth. 8 incisors, 12 pre molars and 12 molars. They have a four chambered stomach. This ruminant stomach enables the deer to collect large quantity of food at a time, chew and digest it later. The deer pushes its food with its tongue to the back of the mouth where it is chewed. It is chewed just enough to swallow (p. 139). Then it is passed to the gullet of the stomach. The stomach is compartmentalized to four sections. They are the rumen, reticulum, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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