Saturday, October 1, 2011

White Tailed Deer.

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States (all but five of the states), Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru. It has also been introduced to New Zealand and some countries in Europe, such as Finland, Czech Republic, and Serbia.

  •  virginianus – Virginia Whitetailed deer or Southern white-tailed deer
  • O. v. acapulcensis – Acapulco white-tailed deer (southern Mexico)
  • O. v. borealis – Northern (woodland) white-tailed deer (the largest and darkest white-tailed deer)
  • O. v. cariacou – (French Guiana and north Brazil)
  • O. v. carminis – Carmen Mountains Jorge deer
  • O. v. chiriquensis – Chiriqui white-tailed deer (Panama)
  • O. v. clavium – Key Deer or Florida Keys white-tailed deer found (Florida Keys)
  • O. v. couesi – Coues white-tailed deer, Arizona white-tailed deer, or fantail deer
  • O. v. curassavicus – (Curaçao)
  • O. v. dacotensis – Dakota white-tailed deer or Northern plains white-tailed deer (most northerly distribution, rivals the Northern white-tailed deer in size)
  • O. v. goudotii – (Colombia (Andes) and west Venezuela)
  • O. v. gymnotis – South American white-tailed deer (northern half of Venezuela, including Venezuela's Llanos Region)
  • O. v. hiltonensis – Hilton Head Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. leucurus – Columbian white-tailed deer (Oregon and western coastal area)
  • O. v. macrourus – Kansas white-tailed deer
  • O. v. margaritae – (Margarita Island)
  • O. v. mcilhennyi – Avery Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. mexicanus – Mexican white-tailed deer (central Mexico)
  • O. v. miquihuanensis – Miquihuan white-tailed deer (central Mexico)
  • O. v. nelsoni – Chiapas white-tailed deer (southern Mexico and Guatemala)
  • O. v. nemoralis – (Central America, round the Gulf of Mexico to Surinam further restricted to from Honduras to Panama)
  • O. v. nigribarbis – Blackbeard Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. oaxacensis – Oaxaca white-tailed deer (southern Mexico)
  • O. v. ochrourus – (Tawny) Northwest white-tailed deer or Northern Rocky Mountains white-tailed deer
  • O. v. osceola – Florida coastal white-tailed deer
  • O. v. peruvianus – South American white-tailed deer or Andean white-tailed deer (most southerly distribution in Peru and possibly, Bolivia)
  • O. v. rothschildi – Coiba Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. seminolus – Florida white-tailed deer
  • O. v. sinaloae – Sinaloa white-tailed deer (mid-western Mexico)
  • O. v. taurinsulae – Bulls Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. texanus – Texas white-tailed deer
  • O. v. truei – Central American white-tailed deer (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and adjacent states)
  • O. v. thomasi – Mexican Lowland white-tailed deer
  • O. v. toltecus – Rain Forest white-tailed deer (southern Mexico)
  • O. v. tropicalis – (western Colombia)
  • O. v. ustus – (Ecuador)
  • O. v. venatorius – Hunting Island white-tailed deer
  • O. v. veraecrucis – Northern Vera Cruz white-tailed deer
  • O. v. yucatanensis – Yucatán white-tailed deer.
  • The deer's coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape. There is a population of white-tailed deer in the state of New York that is entirely white (except for areas like their noses and toes)—not albino—in color. The former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York, has the largest known concentration of white deer. Strong conservation efforts have allowed white deer to thrive within the confines of the depot.White-tailed deer are generalists and can adapt to a wide variety of habitats.The largest deer occur in the temperate regions of Canada and United States. The Northern white-tailed deer (borealis), Dakota white-tailed deer (dacotensis), and Northwest white-tailed deer (ochrourus) are some of the largest animals, with large antlers. The smallest deer occur in the Florida Keys.
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    Although most often thought of as forest animals depending on relatively small openings and edges, white-tailed deer can equally adapt themselves to life in more open prairie, savanna woodlands, and sage communities as in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, These savanna-adapted deer have relatively large antlers in proportion to their body size and large tails. Also, there is a noticeable difference in size between male and female deer of the savannas. The Texas white-tailed deer (texanus), of the prairies and oak savannas of Texas and parts of Mexico, are the largest savanna-adapted deer in the Southwest, with impressive antlers that might rival deer found in Canada and the northern United States. There are also populations of Arizona (couesi) and Carmen Mountains (carminis) white-tailed deer that inhabit montane mixed oak and pine woodland communities. The Arizona and Carmen Mountains deer are smaller but may also have impressive antlers, considering their size. The white-tailed deer of the Llanos region of Colombia and Venezuela (apurensis and gymnotis) have antler dimensions that are similar to the Arizona white-tailed deer.
    Whitetail deer eat large varieties of food, commonly eating legumes and foraging on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti, and grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, and corn. Their special stomach allows them to eat some things that humans cannot, such as mushrooms and Red Sumac that are poisonous to humans. Their diet varies by season according to availability of food sources. They will also eat hay, grass, white clover, and other food that they can find in a farm yard. Whitetail deer have been known to opportunistically feed on nesting songbirds, field mice, and birds trapped in Mist nets.
    The white-tailed deer is a ruminant, which means it has a four-chambered stomach. Each chamber has a different and specific function that allows the deer to quickly eat a variety of different food, digesting it at a later time in a safe area of cover. The Whitetail stomach hosts a complex set of bacteria that change as the deer's diet changes through the seasons. If the bacteria necessary for digestion of a particular food (e.g., hay) are absent it will not be digested.
    There are several natural predators of white-tailed deer. Gray wolves, cougars, American alligators, and (in the tropics) jaguars are the more effective natural predators of adult deer.Bobcats, lynxes, bears, and packs of coyotes usually will prey on deer fawns. Bears may sometimes attack adult deer while lynxes, coyotes, and bobcats are most likely to take adult deer when the ungulates are weakened by winter weather. The general extirpation of natural deer predators over the East Coast (only the coyote is now widespread) is believed to be a factor in the overpopulation issues with this species. Many scavengers rely on deer as carrion, including New World vultures, hawks, eagles, foxes, and corvids (the latter three may also rarely prey on deer fawns).
    Males compete for the opportunity of breeding females. Sparring among males determines a dominance hierarchy. Bucks will attempt to copulate with as many females as possible, losing physical condition since they rarely eat or rest during the rut. The general geographical trend is for the rut to be shorter in duration at increased latitude. There are many factors as to how intense the "rutting season" will be. Air temperature is one major factor of this intensity. Any time the temperature rises above 40 °F (4 °C), the males will do much less traveling looking for females, or they will be subject to overheating or dehydrating. Another factor for the strength in rutting activity is competition. If there are numerous males in a particular area, then they will compete more for the females. If there are fewer males or more females, then the selection process will not need to be as competitive.

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