Mule Deer Facts for Kids

The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) lives in the western Missouri River of North America. The deer earned its name due to its mule-like ears which were not found in white-tailed deer. There are 10 subspecies of mule deer.

If the mule deer loses its antlers the new antlers can regrow almost instantly. These antlers mostly regrow in spring.

Mule deer are found in Rocky Mountain, coastal islands of Alaska, southern Baja Mexico, Zacatecas (Mexico), Great Plains, British Colombia, southern Yukon Territory and Missouri River. They have been introduced in Hawaii and Argentina.

Adult deer has a shoulder hmule deer factseight of 80 – 106 cm. They have 11.6 – 23 cm long tail. Bucks (males) weigh as much as 121 – 331 pounds whereas does (females) average 95 – 198 pounds in weight.

Mule deer will eat up to 788 different plants species but generally they have a varied diet. They are exclusively browsers. The deer’s diet includes beans, acorns, nuts, shrubs, trees, berries, pods, big sagebrush, true mountain mahogany, bluebunch wheatgrass, and Kentucky bluegrass.

The deer also feeds on Gambel oak, skunkbush sumac, quaking aspen, lichen, fringed sagebrush, thistle, prickly lettuce, western yarrow, holly-leaf buckthorn, creek dogwood, black oak, cedar, scrub oak, snowberry, wild cherry, pine, dandelion, and American vetch.

Besides running the mule deer can also move like it is pronking. In pronking the deer gets all its four legs in the air (at the same time) and touch the ground with all legs coming down.

They can see a 310 degree around themselves for their eyes are so located. Mule deer have acute senses in that they can detect the predator’s movement at a distance of 600 meters. Their sense of smell is 1,000 times sharper than the human’s sense of smell.

The breeding season of mule deer begins in fall each year. The female produces 2 fawns after a long gestation period of 200 days.

Mule deer have a lifespan of 9 – 11 years in the wild. In captivity however they can live much longer.

Predators of mule deer are gray wolves, wolverines, brown bears, coyotes, cougars, American black bears bobcats, and cougars.

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