With Stan Tekiela’s famous field guide, mammal identification is simpler, more informative and productive. This book includes all 144 species of Arizona’s mammals, from mice to mountain lions. Detailed photographs and fact-filled information, including a compare feature, range maps, track patterns and scat photos, help to ensure that you positively identify the mammals that you see. Plus, with Stan’s naturalist insights and gee-whiz facts, you’ll become an expert on Arizona’s mammals in no time!
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Odocoileus virginianus couesi
Family: Deer (Cervidae)
Size: L 3-6' (.9-1.8 m); T 6-12" (15-30 cm); H 3-4' (1-1.2 m)
Weight: M 70-120 lb. (32-54 kg); F 50-75 lb. (23-34 kg)
Description: Reddish brown during summer, grayish brown during winter. Large ears, white inside with black edges. A white eye-ring, nose band, chin, throat and belly. Brown tail with a black tip and white underside. Male has antlers with many tines and an antler spread of 12-36" (30-90 cm). Female has a thinner neck than male and lacks antlers.
Origin/Age: native; 5-10 years
Compare: Slightly smaller than the Mule Deer (pg. 323), which has a small thin white tail with a black tip. Elk (pg. 327) has a dark mane and is much larger and heavier than White-tailed Deer.
Habitat: all habitats, all elevations
Home: no den or nest; sleeps in a different spot every night, beds may be concentrated in one area, does not use a shelter in bad weather or winter, will move to a semisheltered area (yard) with a good food supply in winter
Food: herbivore; grasses and other green plants, acorns and nuts in summer, twigs and buds in winter
Sounds: loud whistle-like snorts, male grunts, fawn bleats
Breeding late Oct-Nov mating; 6-7 months gestation
Young: 1-2 fawns once per year in May or June; covered with white spots, walks within hours of birth
Signs: browsed twigs that are ripped or torn (due to the lack of upper incisor teeth), tree rubs (saplings scraped or stripped of bark) made by male while polishing antlers during the rut, oval depressions in snow or leaves are evidence of beds; round, hard brown pellets during winter, cylindrical segmented masses of scat in spring and summer
Activity: nocturnal, crepuscular; often moves along same trails to visit feeding areas
Tracks: front hoof 2-3" (5-7.5 cm) long, hind hoof slightly smaller, both with a split heart shape with a point in the front; neat line of single tracks; hind hooves fall near or directly onto fore prints (direct register) when walking
Stan’s Notes: Almost extirpated in the 1920s, it has recovered well and is now found in most river bottoms in southeastern Arizona. In Arizona the White-tailed Deer is actually subspecies known as Coues White-tailed Deer. Coues Whitetails look the same as White-tailed Deer (O. virginianus), their eastern counterpart, except that they are smaller and weight less. Also called Virginia Deer or just Whitetail.
Much longer guard hairs in winter give the animal a larger appearance than in summer. Individual hairs of the winter coat are thick and hollow and provide excellent insulation.
In summer, antlers are covered with a furry skin called velvet. Velvet contains a network of blood vessels that supplies nutrients to the growing antlers. New antler growth begins after the male (buck) drops his antlers in January or February. Some females (does) have been known to grow antlers.
Deer are dependent on the location of the food supply. In winter large groups move to low moist areas (yards) that have plenty of food. Yarding behavior provides some protection from predators. Eats 5-9 pounds (2.3-4.1 kg) of food per day, preferring acorns in fall and fresh grass in spring. Its four-chambered stomach enables the animal to get nutrients from poor food sources, such as twigs, and eat and drink substances that are unsuitable for people.
Able to run up to 37 miles (60 km) per hour, jump up to 8 1⁄2 feet (2.6 m) high and leap 30 feet (9.1 m). Also an excellent swimmer.
The buck is solitary in spring and early summer, but seeks other bucks in late summer and early fall to spar. Bucks are polygamous. The largest, most dominant bucks mate with many does.
For a couple weeks after birth, fawns lay still all day while their mother is away feeding. Mother nurses them evenings and nights.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
- Arizona’s Mammals
- What Is a Mammal?
- Identification Step-by-Step
- Taxonomy of Arizona’s Mammals
- Quick-Compare Pages
- Sample Pages
- Pocket Mice
- Jumping Mouse
- Harvest Mice
- Grasshopper Mice
- Kangaroo Rats
- Cotton Rats
- Ground Squirrels
- Tree Squirrels
- Prairie Dogs
- Pocket Gophers
- Mountain Lion
Appendix: Taxonomy of Arizona’s Mammals
Checklist/Index by Species
About the Author