Great Plains White Tailed Deer

By Addie Blancarte

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White-Tailed Deer. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 4 May 2016.
http://quest.eb.com/search/139_1931682/1/139_1931682/cite

Important "Points" About Me

My species, Odocoileus virginianus, is one of the smallest deer families in North America. I am not a dangerous creature by any means and really enjoy frolicking in fields with my young and mate. I am one of the many herbivores that reside in the Great Plains. My diet of choice includes: grass, leaves, stems, berries, herbs, acorns, mushrooms, and agricultures crops not specific to corn and beans. The majority of my favorite foods are either storage or structural polysaccharides. My diet is not typically high in cholesterol or lipids (fats).

In regards to where I fall on a food chain, I am a primary consumer and eat the vegetation (producers) around me. The main threat to me are coyotes, who are the secondary consumers (carnivores). Whenever they die off, the decomposers, or bacteria, will break down the organic material into an energy source for the producers.

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Murray, Jesse. "White Tailed Deer." SlideShare. N.p., 10 May 2010. Web. 3 May

2016. <http://www.slideshare.net/guest324f10/

white-tailed-deer-jesse-murray-pd-4>.

Interactions

My species resides all around North America and serve many purposes in food chains and the ongoing cycle of life in environments. Deer in general serve as consumers eating many forms of vegetation and plants as well as being prey to various predators including coyotes, wolves, and sadly, humans. By grazing and continuing to eat these greens and nutrients, I play a key role in making the food chain/cycle go around. Deer help keep the greenery maintained and provide food for the carnivores in their environment. My species takes extensive measures to ensure we are protect ourselves, as well as our young. We have really good smell and hearing which sometimes keeps us from getting killed by predators. In some cases if my our babies (fawns), dump their waste too close to our den or nesting place, I as the mother will eat the waste to further protect the herd from predators that could possibly detect the smell. Even though my species does positive things for the environment, we sometimes pose as a danger and distraction. Deer cause a huge chunk of the car accidents every year because we tend to try and cross roads but end up getting hit my automobiles. In severe cases, we can sometimes cause cars to swerve and hit other cars as well. Overpopulation of humans and us cause more and more between our two species every year.



White Tail Deer." Deer Trail. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016.

<http://www.deertrail.us/minnesotawildlife/minnesotawildlife/

whitetaildeer.html>.

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White-Tailed Buck and Fawn. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 4 May 2016.
http://quest.eb.com/search/139_1970120/1/139_1970120/cite

Day in the Life

My Appearance

Many adult White-Tails have a reddish-brown coats during the summer and then gradually fades to much more dull grey-brown for the winter months. White patches are typically found on our throat region as well as around our eyes, nose, stomachs, and most distinctly, under our tails, hence our species name "White Tailed Deer". Our bright white tail is most importantly used for flagging down other deer in the presence of danger. We have paraxonic feet which means our second and third metapodials are fused together to form our hooves. Though this is widely known, male deer, known as bucks, develop large antlers after the first year of their lives. Females, like myself, never develop this feature, thus making it easier to physically distinguish one sex from the other. Each winter, the bucks rid themselves or their antlers and regrow a new set in the spring. The new set is typically larger than the previous one, making them more sought out by humans. The antlers are desired by human predators as "trophy" in a sense. Bucks are typically much bigger than us does. Bucks on average weigh between 205-405 lbs. and females weigh between 155-218 lbs.


"White-Tailed Deer." ESF. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://www.esf.edu/aec/

adks/mammals/wtd.htm>.

"White-Tailed Deer." University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. N.p., n.d. Web. 3

May 2016. <https://www.uwsp.edu/wildlife/Ungulates/Pages/

White-tailed%20Deer/White-tailed-Deer-Home.aspx>.

Factors that Impact My Life

Since I live in the wild, diseases are fairly common among our species, especailly among the very young and the very old. The most common diseases are blue tongue and pneumonia which can affect any age or gender. Blue tongue is a viral disease that is spread by flies and gnats whenever they bite us. Blue tongue outbreaks are more noticeable whenever the weather is warmer and rainfall is minimal. The mortality rate is dependent on the severity of the outbreak. Symptoms generally begin to present themselves a week after the deer is infected and range anywhere from high fever, excessive salivation, loss of appetite, and swelling of the facial area and tongue. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has become a huge concern for our species over the last several years. The disease originated in captive elk and has spread to cattle and deer in more than seven different states. Fawns have a difficult time escaping parasitic infestation including ticks, nematodes, and worms. These infections will most likely kill them since their immune systems are still not very well developed. Since we usually live in near highly people populated areas, we often have run-ins (literally) with automobiles. Getting caught in fences is also a problem for us because once we get stuck, there usually is not a way for us to escape the predicament we have gotten ourselves into. Hunters pose as our biggest threat and usually kill around 70% of our bucks and 25% does. This proves that hunting is a huge factor in determining our population size.


"Estimating Deer Populations on Your Property: Population Dynamics."

University of Missouri: Extension. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2016.

<https://docs.google.com/a/student.liberty.k12.mo.us/document/d/

1eeIn_IsOboDYXY_3oxxNOW9tcxqyuusuEuDEHOzQr-I/edit?usp=sharing>.

"White-Tailed Deer." Prezi. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2016. <https://prezi.com/

t0uagnfj3lop/white-tailed-deer/>.

My Favorite Foods

My species are herbivores and we love to graze and eat the most nutritious plants available to us on the Great Plains. We are able to eat all of these nutrient rich plants because of our four part stomach; which contains bacteria and protozoans that help me digest cellulose. I also have a very tough cartilaginous pad in my mouth that work with my incisor teeth to crush and break down abrasive woods and twigs from their bases. You will know if I have been eating your plants if the edges are frayed and resemble a witch broom. Since our necks are not long like giraffes, we have to stand on our hind limbs if we can't reach a food that we really really want. This is how we eat various trees and tall shrubs.

Our diet changes a little during the summer months. We tend to eat more aquatic plants, fungi, and fruit opposed to the winter months where we eat acorns (when visable), dried leaves and grasses. When one of my kind is fully grown, we can eat around 5-7 pounds of food a day, which is more than the average human! Energy demands depend on the season and are the highest for pregnant and lactating females, for males in the autumn, and for all individuals during severe winter weather.


"White-Tailed Deer." ESF. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://www.esf.edu/aec/

adks/mammals/wtd.htm>.

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Flathead River Valley, British Columbia, Canada.. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 9 May 2016.

http://quest.eb.com/search/137_3144502/1/137_3144502/cite