Odocoileus virginianus Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
White-tailed deer live in almost every habitat type in Florida, but tend to be most abundant in deciduous forest and forest edge habitats. Deer are browsers, feeding on twigs and leaves, but they also graze on grasses, herbs and agricultural crops. They forage mainly at night, and it is common to see deer grazing beside major highways at night. Drivers beware!
White-tailed deer form several kinds of social groups, the most common of which is matrilineal, which includes a doe, her female offspring of previous years, and their fawns.
Females usually give birth to a single fawn, but if food is plentiful they will often have twins. Fawns are spotted and weigh about 3-4 kg (7-9 lb) at birth. The mother leaves them hidden in the vegetation for a week or two, but returns to nurse them several times a day. In this hiding phase, it is important not to approach or handle fawns. If you find a fawn lying down and it doesn’t run away, please leave it alone. The fawn has NOT been abandoned; the mother is watching from somewhere close by.
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