Deer/ White tailed deer of Costa Rica

Common Name: Deer/ White tailed deer/ Also known as Virginia deer

National Symbol of Costa Rica

Type: Mammal

Family: Cervidae

Range: White-tailed deer is the smallest members of the North American deer family member. They are usually found from southern part of Canada to Southern America. During the summer season, they normally live in fields and fields using bunches of broad-leaved and wood forests for shade. However, during winter season, they usually stick to forests, preferring coniferous stands which provide shelter from the harsh cold weather. The white-tailed deer can be found in south of Canada and most part of the United States, except Hawaii and Alaska. White tailed deer are available in large numbers in Central American terrain. They are regularly seen in the tropical forest of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. They are also available in the natural reserve and national parks of Costa Rica.

Size: The largest species of deer is the Moose that is 5-7 ft tall and can have weights 800-1500 lbs. The smallest species of deer is the Pudu. It measure 13-17 inches tall and have an average weights of32 lbs. only. The White Tailed Deer is extremely variable in sizes, North American male deer, a buck or stag are usually weighs from 60 to 130 kg (130 to 290 lb) but, in an unusual case, bucks have been recorded to exceeding the weight of 159 kg (350 lb). An indication of age is the color of the coat and the length of the snout. Elder deer have a propensity to have grayer coats and longer snout.

Weight: The Males dear can get a weight up to 400 pounds and females can gain weigh up to 200 pounds. The white tailed mature dear can weighs from 55 kg to 136 kg. (120-300lbs)

Diet: White-tailed deer are herbivores; the white-tailed deer is a ruminant that means it has a four-chambered stomach similar to cows. They consume large assortment of food, normally legumes and several types of plants, including leaves, mushrooms, shoots, cactus, berries and grasses.

Average life span: They average life span of a white tailed deer is 7-10 years. They rarely live more than 10 years but there have been cases of 20 year old deer.

Habitat: Many deer live in wooded areas, pine forests, swamp lands, and plain areas while others exist in moderate rain forests and also in deserts. Deer can take on a large variety of habitats. A deer’s home ranges are less then a square mile. Deer always live in family groups of a mother and her fawns. When a doe (female deer) has no fawns, she is typically solitary. Male bucks (male deer) may live in groups consisting of three or four individuals, except in mating season, they are lonely.

Breeding/Reproduction: At the time of breeding season, the males will try to copulate with several females. If there are several males in an area, they will certainly fight for the females. This will be the reason for injury as they seldom rest or eat throughout the rut. Deer females give birth to 1-3 dotted young, known as fawns normally in May or June. Fawns lose their dots during the summer and will get a weight from 44 to 77 pounds by the winter. They usually form groups of two to six individuals, however, one can observe the groups of15 also.

The white-tailed deer also known the Virginia deer is a deer native to the Americas. The whitetail, thanks to its diverse habitats all throughout the Americas, is greatly varies in size from region to region. In northern America a buck (male whitetail deer) will weight around 60-120 kilos; where as a buck from the tropical forests of Costa Rica will weigh an average of 35-50 kilos. On an average though, the male white-tailed deer weighs 68 kilos while the female weighs 45 kilos. The whitetail has a reddish brown coat in the warm seasons, which turn grayish in the cold seasons. This mammal is named after its characteristic tail, which has a white underside. The deer use this to signal alarm to others when in danger. This species, like all deer, are color blind and do not see the red color.

The white-tailed deer are known to eat a wide variety of food. They forage plants, eating leaves, shoots, grass and cacti. They will readily eat fruits, corn and acorns. In fact the white-tail dear has a special stomach which lets it digest certain mushrooms and plants that are poisonous to humans. The whitetail developed this flexibility thanks to the large variety of environments it has been exposed to. It also has specialized bacteria in its stomach that change with changing weather, enabling the whitetail deer to digest the different food that different seasons offer.

The whitetail deer was widely hunted and this, along with deforestation had caused its population to drop heavily. This led to major conservation efforts which over the century have been so successful that their estimated population has reached over 30 million. The lack of natural predators has now led to such overpopulation, that this deer is now a nuisance to farmers. In many areas, the presence of this deer has made farming virtually impossible.

The white-tailed deer usually lives in woodland areas. Mountain lions and Gray wolves are the main predators of the white-tailed deer.

When a white-tailed deer is worried, it can stomp its hooves and grunt to warn other deer. It raises its tail and shows its white underside. When a mother deer is running, this white underside can help her fawns to follow her. These deer are very good runner. They can run at speeds of up to 30 mile an hour. They are also good leapers and swimmers.

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