Florida Key Deer: Evolution Adaptation - Florida Wildlife Viewing

Key Deer
How They Evolved, Adapted






Florida Everglades


How Key Deer Differ
From Other White-tail Deer

Besides their small size, Key deer have evolved in some ways that are behaviorally, taxonomically, genetically and physically distinct from all the other white-tails in North America.

For instance, although fresh water is crucial to their long-term survival, the deer are able to drink fairly saline water--as much as 50 percent sea water--for short periods when necessary. They also eat mangrove leaves, which are very salty.

Key deer reproductive habits are unusual, too. The does very seldom twin and there are no records of triplets; northern white tails commonly twin and triplets do occur.

The ratio of males to females is much higher in the Keys, though what purpose this serves is not known. Bucks, too, are the predominant road kills.

Although Key deer do not gang up, they do live in extended families consisting of a doe and several years of her offspring. And occasionally two does will run together if they are related, whereas it's common for groups of five or six Northern does to run together with their young.

Why Key Deer Are Endangered

Where to See Key Deer

Best Month To Photograph Key Deer

Key Deer Habits and Habitat

Close Neighbors: People and Key Deer

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