Blacktail deer are sometimes referred to as the ‘Ghost of the Pacific’. This is due to its ability to move without making the slightest of noise. This is also due to the fact that it can move unseen through the Pacific coast’s thick rainforests. Blacktail deer is among the nine species of mule deer.
It’s a fascinating animal that thrives mostly in the North American regions. According to the Canadian biologist Dr. Valerius Geist, the first blacktail deer originated around 2 million years ago. Their habitat was first discovered during ‘The Lewis and Clark Expedition’ in the early 19th century. Blacktail is considered as the least studied among all the North American deer species.
For hunters, a grown blacktail buck is a prestigious trophy as it’s difficult to hunt them down. Owing to their stealth and secretive behavior, blacktail deer can easily evade most of the hunters and predators. Now, let’s go through some of the basic facts about this fascinating deer species:
The name ‘blacktail’ comes from the characteristic black tail that this deer species possesses. It can be mentioned as either ‘black-tailed deer’ or ‘blacktail deer’. The blacktail deer is a sub-species of Odocoileus hemionus or the mule deer. The Columbian blacktail deer and Sitka blacktail deer are its two sub-species.
The blacktail deer has a natural lifespan of 9 to 10 years. However, if they’re kept in protective surroundings and provided excellent care, they can live up to 20 years.
You can find the Columbian blacktail deer in regions spanning California to British Columbia. The habitat of Sitka blacktail deer exists in areas spanning British Columbia to Southeast Alaska. They live mostly in the forests in and around the Pacific coast.
You’ll also find them on the mountains and the foothills nearby. Blacktail deer prefer mild climatic conditions characterized by ample rainfall and cool temperatures. They don’t migrate, but those living on the mountainous areas can descend to safer places during winters.
The most common predators of blacktail deer are bears, coyotes, wolves, cougars, and golden eagles.
5. Physical features
The weight of a blacktail doe is around 58 kilograms. Blacktail bucks can weigh up to 90 kilograms. Owing to the smaller size of Sitka blacktail deer, their weight is usually between 36 and 54 kilograms. The height varies from 27 to 45 inches. Usually, this deer species possess a stocky body with long and sturdy legs. Blacktail deer change the color of their coat according to the prevailing season.
During winters, the color of their coat is brownish-gray. In summers, they change the color to reddish-brown. The color of their tail is either completely black or dark brown. They have an undersurface with a white shade. Blacktail deer have large ears that can make independent movements. Blacktail bucks usually have antlers, but female blacktail deer may also have antlers in rare cases.
The development of antlers in blacktail deer begins when they’re 6 to 8 months of age. The term ‘antler buttons’ describes the antlers that begin to appear during their initial stages of growth. The antlers develop under a skin layer, which is known as ‘velvet’. Once fully developed, the dried velvet peels off and the antlers start showing.