Mule Deer

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Mule Deer
Missing image
Mule_Deer_in_Bryce_Canyon.jpg
Mule Deer in Bryce Canyon


Mule Deer in Bryce Canyon
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Capreolinae
Genus:Odocoileus
Species:hemionus
Binomial name
Odocoileus hemionus
(C. S. Rafinesque, 1817)

The Mule Deer (Odocoileus hermionus ) is a deer whose habitat is in the western half of North America. It gets its name from its large mule-like ears. Its closest relative is the White-tailed Deer. The two species often share natural habitats, and can be mistaken for one another. The most noticeable differences between the two is the color of their tails, and their antlers. The Mule Deer's tail is black tipped. Mule Deer antlers "fork" as they grow rather than growing and expanding forward. Each year a buck's antlers start to grow in spring and are shed after mating season from mid-January to mid-April. Mule bucks also tend to grow slightly larger than their white-tailed counterparts, and have somewhat more prominent ears.

Instead of running, Mule Deer move with a bounding leap (stotting) with all four feet coming down together.

There are two or three subspecies of mule deer:

  • Cedros Island mule deer(Odocoileus hemionus cerrosensis Merriam, 1898)
  • Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus Rafinesque, 1817)
  • Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus or sometimes Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)


Foraging

In summer, it chiefly forages on not only herbaceous plants, but also various berries (including blackberry, huckleberry, salal, and thimbleberry). In winter, it forages on conifers (especially twigs of Douglas fir), cedar, yew, aspen, willow, dogwood, serviceberry, juniper, and sage. Year-round, it eats acorns and apples.

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