White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

During the 1700s to 1900’s Connecticut was mostly farmland. During that time deer were extensively
hunted and also suffered from habitat loss. By 1906 deer were quite uncommon in the state. Then, as small family farms gave way to a more industrialized economy, forests started to regrow. Deer came back into the state and have since flourished. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has a doe (female) in the wetlands area of Alligator Alley. She was orphaned in Beardsley Park in June of 2005 and came to the Zoo when just two weeks old.

Description: 

Hooved animal with fur color ranging from reddish brown to tan to grayish brown. Males average weight is 150 lbs., females 110 lbs. Males stand about 3 feet at the shoulder and have antlers which are shed and regrown each year. Females are slightly smaller and do not have antlers.

Habitat: 

Open forest with enough vegetation for concealment.

Range: 

Southern Canada, through most of the contiguous U.S. south to Panama.

Diet: 

Tree buds, leaves, tender shoots, young twigs, herbs, nuts including acorns, mushrooms, lichen and some grasses

Life Span: 

In some parts of their range, deer still suffer from habitat loss and hunting. Because most natural predators have been eliminated from CT and deer can thrive in close proximity to humans, we have an abundance of them.

Family Life: 

The mating or rutting season starts in late October and extends through early January. Fawns, weighing from four to eight pounds, are usually born in June. They remain under the female’s care through September, when they are weaned. The number of young born ranges from one to four. Female fawns born early in spring can breed the following fall.


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