Deer Anatomy – Tail

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“America’s deer” gets its common name from its white tail. However, the whitetail’s tail is not entirely white. It is brown on the outside and white underneath. The tail grows 12 to 15 inches long.

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A buck or doe uses its tail to signal danger. An alert animal holds its tail at a 90-degree angle to tell other deer that trouble may be brewing. If a deer sees or smell a predator, it raises its tail straight up in the air. This behavior is called “flagging”. A deer may then run away, long tail flagging, carrying other bucks or does with it.

Tail flagging is an involuntary motion. But deer often use their tails to communicate. Does raise and show their white tails when they are ready to breed. Feeding or wandering deer wag their tails gently from side to side to signal contentment.


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