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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Mule Deer: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Discover interesting mule deer facts such as that it has large ears like a mule from which it draws its name.

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are a species of deer with this name due to their large ears. They are social animals which are found in groups. They are related to white tailed deer and have at least 10 known subspecies. Mule deer can be spotted with a patch on their white rump. The males of this species are called bucks, and they have large forked antlers. The females of this species are called does. The doe goes through a gestation period of six or seven months, starting in November and gives birth to a fawn.

The primary food of mule deer is grass, berries, and other small shrubs. This wildlife species has often been hunted down in the past, however such hunting is now discouraged by various wildlife agencies which seek to protect this deer. This deer species is known to have excellent night vision and can see up to 1968.5 ft (600 m). They have a unique movement called stotting, in which they bounce on the ground using all of their four feet. Stotting is observed if they are threatened.

You can also check out the fact files on swamp deer and tufted deer from Kidadl too.

Mule Deer Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mule deer?

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a species of deer which has long antlers and a rump patch. They have two subspecies in the black tailed deer family.

What class of animal does a mule deer belong to?

Mule deer belongs to the Mammalia class. They have two subspecies in the black tailed deer family. They are related to the white tailed deer family.

How many mule deer are there in the world?

Mule deer have large ears and are threatened due to habitat loss. Mule deer populations are around 106,000 in Nevada and 80,600 in Utah. The population of mule deer in Colorado is around 408,000.

Where does a mule deer live?

The range of a mule deer varies from rocky hillslopes to mountain forest edges. These deer with long ears are also found in open desert areas.

What is a mule deer's habitat?

A mule deer's habitat extends throughout the western parts of North America and South America. Colorado is one such area that has the maximum mule deer population. Of recent, mule deer have been introduced to Argentina. During the summer season and just before the winter sets in, mule deer migrate to lower ranges from high elevation summer ranges. This is because during the winter season, the high elevated areas go through severe snowstorms.

Who do mule deer live with?

This is a social species of deer and they roam in groups. This group includes bucks, does, and their fawn. During the early gestation, their groups are the largest, however the bucks also tend to be solitary at times.

How long does a mule deer live?

A mule deer can survive up to 22 years in the wild. Their main threats are their predators including coyotes and mountain lions.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season of mule deer begins in the fall, mainly in November and lasts until February. Bucks tend to fight each other to get the chance to mate. Mule deer become sexually mature when they are about 18 months, however young bucks have to reach at least three years to find a mate. The gestation period of the females or does lasts about six or seven months. Deer bucks are polygynous in nature, and their groups are largest during the early gestation period. A female deer can give birth to either a single fawn or two fawns. The fawns are born during the spring season. After the birth, a fawn stays with its mother for some time, and during the fall, they are weaned.

What is their conservation status?

Mule deer, which are known for their large antlers, are tagged as Least Concern. Hunting of mule deer is a prevalent sport in North America, causing a decline in their numbers and such hunting is often discouraged by several wildlife agencies. Wildlife fencing is a process that is taken up to protect this wildlife species from traffic hits and accidents. Another threat to mule deer is their natural predators. Such predators include gray wolves, coyotes, and bobcats.

Mule Deer Fun Facts

What do mule deer look like?

Mule deer (both bucks and doe) have large ears and thick antlers on top of their head. A deer's body is covered with either reddish-brown or brown fur during the summer. During the fall in winter, this coat turns to gray. This deer has a white tail that is black tipped. These deer are tall at the shoulder and can grow to reasonable lengths. A mule deer buck has unique forked antlers and sheds its thick antlers every year. After they shed, it is during the following spring when the antlers regrow. The antler growth rate is dependent on the day's length.

How cute are they?

They are pretty cute to look at, especially a fawn mule deer.

How do they communicate?

A mule deer is a type of deer withoversized ears. Like all other deer, it is a quiet animal and uses grunts to communicate with its other group members. To seek females, the males or bucks make a special bellowing to which the females reciprocate.

How big is a mule deer?

The range of body length of a mule deer can be between 47-83 in (119.3-210.8 cm). They have large antlers which can have a height between 31-42 in (78.7-106.6 cm). The males, also called bucks, are larger than the females in size. This size makes them at least four times bigger than a dwarf rabbit.

How fast can a mule deer run?

The top speed of a mule deer is 44.7 mph (72 kph).

How much does a mule deer weigh?

The weight of mule deer is between the range of 95-331 lb (43-150 kg). Male bucks weigh more than the females called does. A mule deer buck can be as heavy as 331 lb (150 kg) or more, while a female mule deer can weigh around 198 lb (89.8 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male of this deer species is called a buck, plural bucks. A female of this deer species is called a doe.

What would you call a baby mule deer?

A young mule deer is known as a fawn.

What do they eat?

The main food of mule deer is twigs, branches falling from trees, and grass. They are particularly fond of food such as varieties of wild cherry, wild oats, cacti, and grapes. These deer also like to feed on small trees and shrubs. During the summer months, they can be observed to feed in large groups. They usually range in high elevation summer ranges where adequate food is available. When summer ends, they start moving to lower altitudes to search for forage. In the winter months, the supply of food reduces due to heavy snowstorms.

Are they dangerous?

They are not very dangerous. A deer buck can sometimes be dangerous if threatened due to its large forked antlers.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they will never make a good pet. These animals are large with long ears and strong antlers and live in groups. Their indiscriminate hunting has already caused damage to their numbers.

Did you know...

An interesting mule deer fact is that they are primarily active in the early morning. They tend to avoid extreme day temperatures.

Mule deer have great eyesight, especially at night. They can see as a far as 1968 ft (600 m) and detect the smallest motions which is how they detect predators. However, they are unable to see motionless objects and their eyesight is not as good during the day.

They are sociable animals which stay in close groups. These groups include adults and their young ones. These young ones stay in the group for a year.

What is the difference between white-tailed deer and mule deer?

The main difference lies in the antlers of the males. While the antlers of a white-tailed deer grow as a single beam, mule deer antlers are forked. The mule deer has a more prominent ear compared to a white-tailed deer.

A much more noticeable difference is in the tails of these two species. The tail of a mule deer is white with a black tip, whereas the tail of a white-tailed deer, as the name indicates, has a white underside and brown rump.

How often do mule deer drink water?

Mule deer usually drink water daily, but if the need arises, they can go without water for a few days. It pounds its hooves into the ground to get water. They also get a lot of water from their plant-based diet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these saiga antelope facts and Mexican wolf facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mule deer coloring pages.

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