Forests, mountains, grasslands, deserts, and shrublands
Western North America from the plains to the Pacific Ocean
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Mule deer are most recognizable by their large, mule-like ears that give them their name. Mule deer grow between three to three-and-a-half feet tall at the shoulder and weigh between 130 and 280 pounds. Female mule deer are smaller than males, and males have antlers. These deer have stocky builds with long, sturdy legs, light brown or gray coats with white throats and hind quarters. Mule deer are social animals and are most often seen in groups browsing in open, shrubby areas.
Mule deer are an important part of the western North American ecosystem. They are the primary prey of mountain lions as well as sometimes being hunted by coyotes and bobcats.
Mule deer are browsing herbivores, that feed on various herbaceous plants and the leaves and twigs of woody shrubs. They are selective feeders, meaning they carefully select the most nutritious plants instead of eating large amounts of lower-quality food, like grass.
National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Mammals, 1996, book.
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