Mule Deer
Odocoileus hemionus
 

The overall body length of a mule deer is 4 to 6 feet. The tail length is 4 to 9 inches and the shoulder height is 3 to 3-1/2 feet. The tail is black-tipped or all black on top (the animal is sometimes referred to as Black-tailed Deer). The male's antlers fork into two nearly equal branches. The fur is reddish brown during the summer and grayish in the winter. The ears are long like a mule, thus the name.

Unlike the White-tailed Deer, the mule deer avoids areas of human activity. On summer evenings single individuals or a small group of these animals can be seen near a private forest edge in Monroe County. This area does not provide an ideally suitable habitat for mule deer, but a few are known to have escaped from a private reserve and the loosely structured group often assembles on brushy slopes in the foothills where browse is available.

Like all deer, this species ruts in autumn, when male deer contest for and associate briefly with the females. Spotted fawns, usually twins, are born in the spring and are weaned at about six weeks of age. Young females may stay with their mother for two years, but males leave in the first year.

Note: Mule deer are not indigenous to the Escambia region. Those seen here were imported to the area.

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