Mule Deer

Creature Features

Description                                                                                                                                                                                                The mule deer is a large mammal. Its coat ranges from dark brown gray, dark and light gray to brown and even reddish. The rump patch may be white or yellow, while the throat patch is white. The white tails of most mule deer end in a tuft of black hairs. They have large ears that move constantly and independently, from whence they get their name, “Mule” or “Burro Deer.”

Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mule deer are herbivores; they browse (eating high-growing plants) or graze depending on the season.

Reproduction                                                                                                                                                                                              Mule deer are polygamous, with courtship and mating occurring within the group. From November to February, bucks evenly matched in strength and size compete in battles for access to mate with females. One or two fawns are born in early summer.

Fun Facts 

  • Other Names: Burro Deer, Black-tailed Deer, Cedros Island Mule Deer
  • Scientific Name: Odocoileus hemionus
  • Conservation status: Least concern
  • Lifespan: 9 to 22 years
  • Body Length: 3 to 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder to 4.5 to 7 feet long
  • Weight: 95 to 330 pounds
  • Gestation: 6 to 7 months
  • Number of Young: 1 to 2 fawns
  • Habitat: Desert, xeric shrub lands, temperate coniferous forest
  • Distribution: Mule deer occur throughout most of North America

Did You Know?

  • - Mule deer lack front teeth; they just have a hard palate.
  • Mule deer have very good night vision and can detect the movement of predators as far away as 600 meters. 
  • They have a sense of smell that is 1,000 times the accuracy of the human sense of smell.
  • They are able to detect water that is two feet underground.