Archive for the ‘Mule deer’ Tag

Mule Deer Eating Prickly Pear Cactus   Leave a comment

Mule Deer in Sabino Canyon (November 8, 2022) —- Images by kenne

On the SCVN Bird and Plant walk (November 8, 2022), we spotted a mule deer eating what appeared to be prickly pear pads.
We are aware that deer will eat the fruit but not the pads. You can tell from these photos that she seems to enjoy the chew.
However, she began to sneeze and use her left hind hoof to scratch her head — wonder why.

— kenne

Deer On Trail In Sabino Canyon   1 comment

Desert Mule Deer (Female) — Images by kenne
(Click on image for larger view.)

Capturing The Moment — Mule Deer In A Desert Wash   7 comments

Wassen Peak (1 of 1)-13 Mule Deer blog framedMule Deer In A Desert Wash — Image by kenne

Bedded down in the wash

in the midmorning shadows,

we gaze at one another —

no signs of fear,

preferring an open wash

in Kings Canyon.

— kenne

Capturing the Moment — Mule Deer in Sabino Canyon   3 comments

Mule Deer — Images by kenne

I have often wondered about mule deer hair. We know it changes color from one season to the next, but there is much more to it than meets the eye. Mule deer live in a variety of climates throughout the West, from forests to deserts. To help survive extreme temperature fluctuations, I have learned they have some interesting fur adaptations, having several different types of hair in their coat at any given time. For example, an adult mule deer coat is composed of large guard hairs, intermediate guard hairs, mane hairs, and woolly under-hairs. Fawns have tufts of white-tipped hairs.

Mule deer coats change according to the animal’s age as well as to seasonal temperatures. Mule deer have four different pelages: natal (newborn), juvenile (fawn to yearling), adult summer, and adult winter. The adult winter pelage is the most complex, having all the hair types, with each type at its greatest diameter. The summer coat does not have underfur and is longer with more slender guard hairs lying at an inclined angle to the skin. This “design” is thought to shade the skin and to provide for efficient heat loss.

Mule deer molt their coats twice a year—spring and autumn. The autumn molt occurs when deer are in their best body condition with good food resources still available, which is key to producing a warm coat enough to meet winter’s energy demands. (Information obtained from


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