14 November 2007

Deer at the beach

I have written about the fox prints in sand that I photographed at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge last month. In the same morning there were also deer tracks crisscrossing the sandy beach exposed at low tide.

DeerTracksInSand
The ruler is 15 cm long.

Two species of deer live at the refuge, the usual and native white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the introduced sika deer (Cervus nippon). I don't know if the 2 species have tracks that are different enough for an experienced person to tell them apart. Sika deer are smaller than the white-tailed deer, so large prints would probably belong to the latter, but small prints could belong to either species.

Sika deer are easy to distinguish from the white-tailed deer by their white rump bordered with black fur, as opposed to the uniformly brown rump and the white tail of the latter. We did see a sika deer at the refuge, although not at the beach, but my pictures of it didn't come out good.

sika deer

Nevertheless you can see notice another characteristic that distinguishes them from the white-tailed deer: when they are running away they don't stick their tails up like the way the white-tailed deer always do.

sika deer 2

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