Mule Deer

(Odocoileus hemionus). Patient Number 23-853.

Date of admission: June 27, 2023.
Reason for admission: Orphaned.

Patient History:

Mule Deer are abundant across Alberta and are also found across much of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America. Although they are generally observed grazing on shrubs and berries in rural habitats, they are increasingly common in urban environments. Backyard trees and shrubs provide an excellent food source, while ravines provide shelter from the weather and predators.

Although the Mule Deer range overlaps heavily with the White-tailed deer range, they are in fact a different species entirely. Mule deer are larger in size and their antlers are forked rather than a central branch with points, as seen in White-tailed Deer. The best marker to identify a Mule Deer is the underside of its tail. A white-tailed deer’s tail is white, while the mule deer has a black tip and is much smaller.

Between November and February, bucks battle for the right to mate with females. The gestation period is approximately 200 to 210 days, and fawns are typically born in May or June. Pregnant females will give birth in seclusion, often choosing wooded areas hidden away from the watchful eye of would-be predators. Fawns are fragile, so a doe will carefully hide her fawn when she goes off to feed. The fawn will not be strong enough to follow her while she forages for upwards of a week to 10 days. She will return to care for her fawn on a regular basis. A fawn's spots can help it remain perfectly camouflaged while the mother is gone. As deer become more comfortable living in urban environments, homeowners are commonly discovering fawns that have been hidden in their backyard bushes and neighboring ravines. Fawns are weaned at about 2 months, and start to lose their spots roughly around the same time.

This fawn was admitted after being orphaned. Upon intake she was dehydrated and in weak condition but has since recovered and is doing well. She will remain in care at AIWC until she is old enough to return to the wild. Thank you for supporting her care!


Mule Deer

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