White-tailed Deer

(Odocoileus virginianus)


White-tailed Deer IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Upperparts of the White-tailed deer are reddish brown in summer and grayish brown in winter. Underparts are white, as is the underside of the tail. When alarmed this deer raises the tail and shows the white underside as a signal of alarm during escape. The White-tailde deer is a medium-sized deer: males weigh between 60-160 kg and females from 40-105 kg. Individuals in the northern part of their range are larger in size than their southern relatives. Only males have antlers which are shed in winter.


The white-tailed deer's diet changes depending on its habitat and the season. It feeds on grasses, herbs and leaves in the spring and summer, corn, acorns and other nuts in the fall, and the buds and twigs of woody plants in winter.


Did you know?
that the hair shafts of the White-tailed deer are hollow in winter, providing better insulation against the winter cold?


Name (Scientific) Odocoileus virginianus
Name (English) White-tailed Deer
Name (French) Cerf de Virginie, Cerf à queue blanche
Name (German) Weisswedelhirsch, Virginiahirsch
Name (Spanish) Venado cola blanca
CITES Status Appendix III (subspecies mayensis only, in Guatemala)
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
U.S. Department od Agriculture



Range From Southern Canada through the USA and Central America and as far south in South America as Bolivia.
Habitat Preferred habitat type may vary by season and region, but White-tailed deers are most common in areas with young forests and brush.
Wild population United States:11 million, Canada: nearly half a million. But in Mexico, Central and South American populations are decreasing (IUCN Red List 2011)
Zoo population 516 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

White-tailed Deer


How this animal should be transported

Hard antlers should be removed before transport under proper restraint and, where required, sedation. No deer with antlers in velvet at a stage of growth which could be damaged easily should be transported where there is a risk of injury.

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
D. Gordon E. Robertson

Why do zoos keep this animal

The white-tailed deer is a very common species. It is kept primarily by North American zoos to display an important element of the native fauna, which has been used as the model of Walt Disney's "Bambi".

Zoos may also come into the position of keeping orphaned or injured white-tailed deer for animal welfare reasons.