What is a mule deer

All deer or what?

Four legs, brown fur, one antler. What could that be? The result is an attempt to bring some order to some of Canada's ungulates.

"Look, a moose!" «Whaaas moose? It's much too small for a moose, that's a reindeer! "" There are no reindeer in Canada, they're called caribou here. "" Well, then it's a wapiti. Or else a deer. Give me the binoculars! "A visit to Canada almost always includes an encounter with a caribou, elk , elk or deer. Just recognizing what it really is from a distance is not always easy.

Whitetail and mule deer - when they meet ...
You can never go wrong with the term deer, because elk, caribou and elk all belong to the deer family. In Canada, however, when one speaks of a deer, what is usually meant is a white-tailed deer or a mule deer. The white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, is the most common species of deer in North America. A male weighs between 100 and 150 kg and has a shoulder height of about 1 m. Females are insignificantly smaller and lighter. The white-tailed deer owes its name to its tail, which is white on the underside and is raised in the event of imminent danger in order to warn other conspecifics. Only the males wear antlers; this they repel after the rut, whereupon a new one grows back. The white-tailed deer is more of a loner and only sometimes comes together in loose associations. After 200 days, females give birth to one or two, rarely three or four young, which are covered with white spots. The mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, is very similar to the white-tailed deer: the color of the tail is different; Depending on the subspecies, white on both sides, with a black tip or completely black. It also differs in its larger ears and different antlers. Unlike white-tailed deer, mule deer avoid the vicinity of human settlements and live in larger groups or even in herds. It becomes difficult to distinguish when a female white-tailed deer meets a male specimen of the mule deer or vice versa: It can happen that the two species mate ...

Wapiti - nobody roars louder
The elk, known for its loud roar, got its name from the Shawnee Indians. It describes the most typical feature: her white rump. Elk is a collective name for the North American subspecies of the red deer. There are currently four of them, two have already died out. Most of the elk, Cervus elaphus, are larger than their European relatives. Their shoulder height is up to 1.5 m and they weigh between 230 and 450 kg. Males are about twice as heavy as females. The latter live together in packs, because of which rival males fight hard during the mating season. After 260 days, the female gives birth to a single young, which is sucked for six months. To add to the confusion when differentiating between the various deer species, the elk is called an elk in North America - in Europe, an elk is an elk.

Elch - the top athlete
A moose Alces alces, whereas in North America it is called "Moose". He is the largest member of the deer family. Its shoulder height is up to 2.3 m and it weighs up to 800 kg. The up to 2 m wide antlers of the male are characterized by flat shovels. The fur of the elk varies between reddish and blackish brown. The animals like to stay in the water, on the one hand to eat - aquatic plants such as water lilies are on their menu - on the other hand to protect themselves from insects. Mosses are loners. A cow elk carries for about 9 months. After that, one or two young are born who, unlike other deer calves, have no white spots. By the way, the moose is an impressive athlete, he can run up to 35 mph, swim for several hours, dive to a depth of 6.1 m and stay underwater for up to a minute.

Caribou - woman wearing antlers
The caribou living in the tundra, Rangifer tarandus, is the North American variant of the reindeer, the most characteristic feature of which is that the female also has antlers. In addition, reindeer were the only deer species domesticated and are still kept as livestock today. A caribou weighs between 60 and 300 kg, its shoulder height is 120 to 220 cm. Caribou have a light fur that is slightly darker in summer than in winter. The antlers of the male can be up to 130 cm long, those of the female only up to 50 cm. Caribou live in herds that can comprise several 100,000 animals during seasonal migrations. After 230 days, the female gives birth to a single young which, like the elk calf, has no white spots and is very independent shortly after birth. In popular belief, Santa's sleigh is pulled by reindeer.

Bambi - a deer?
The deer, Capreolus capreolus, is not represented in North America. This became a minor problem with the Disney film adaptation of the European novel Bambi. But the deer quickly became a small white-tailed deer: Since the fawns are very similar, this was practically not noticed by the European public.

© 2006