The mule deer has large ears that are nine inches long and look like those on a mule. It is brownish gray with a cream underside and rump. It has a black-tipped tail. Bucks (males) grow large antlers in the spring that they shed during the winter.
How big are they?
Mule deer are three and a half feet tall at the shoulder and have a body length of six feet. They weigh between one hundred and three hundred pounds.
Where do they live?
Mule deer are found in prairies, forests, deserts, plains, and mountain foothills throughout the western United States.
What do they eat?
They eat grasses, flowering plants, buds, twigs, leaves, and stems of woody plants.
What eats them?
Mule deer are hunted by grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves and humans. Coyotes also hunt young mule deer.
Did you know?
Mule deer have excellent hearing to help them avoid predators.
Like all deer species, they are ruminants which means their stomach has four chambers. This helps them better digest the food they eat.
Fawns are born covered with spots and are standing within hours of birth. They are completely independent in one to two years.
Threats to mule deer:
Many of the natural predators of the mule deer have been removed from Utah. Without predators to keep their numbers in check, the mule deer population can grow so large that they have trouble finding enough food. This also causes them to come into contact with people more often, leading to deaths from being hit by cars, and similar accidents.
Invasive plants and the lack of sage brush are also threatening their survival.