I prance and I dance,
I’m quick and I’m sleek,
You’d never suspect it,
But I also eat meat.
This week’s Okanagan Organism is the White-tailed deer! One of two species of deer in the Okanagan, these graceful creatures are best known for their “flagging” display, where the deer raises it’s tail to reveal a snow-white rump. Since deer are incredibly fast and agile, hungry predators will try to ambush, rather than chase after their prey. When a deer spots a predator, it quickly flashes the rump, letting the predator know that the jig is up! Since the deer is going to run, most predators will leave it alone and find easier prey!
But what about the meat? Well, despite everything you’ve been taught in school, deer aren’t strict herbivores! When their diet of leafy greens isn’t nutrient-rich enough to fill their needs, these graceful vegans will turn to chomping down on meat to get the job done. Seasonally, they’re more prone to snacking on critters when they’re growing antlers, or if they’re pregnant. Deer will eat small, immobile animals like hatchling birds, or young mice if they chance across them and happen to be hungry!