Key Deer

Bucks grow new antlers every year.
Key Deer Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Odocoileus virginianus
Key Deer Physical Characteristics
Brown, White, Grey-Brown
7-9 years
Top speed
26 mph
44-85 pounds
Key Deer Distribition

” Tiniest North American white- trailed deer species.”

Key deer, like their name suggests, are deer that are belonging to the Florida Keys. They are the tiniest subspecies of white- trailed deer in The United States and Canada. They look virtually the same to their family members yet are a lot more like a small variation. This is why some individuals call them “plaything deer.” Key deer are better in dimension to a dog than a few other bigger deer species. When surprised, Key deer raise their tails, flaunting the white that exists under.

5 Amazing Key Deer Realities!

  • Key deer are endangered.
  • Key deer are the only existing huge herbivore in the Florida Keys.
  • Like the majority of deer, Key deer are primarily seen around sunset and dawn.
  • By the 1950s, Key deer were virtually extinct.
  • Key deer have little- to- no anxiety of humans.

Key Deer Scientific Name

The scientific name for Key deer is Odocoileus virginianus clavium They are likewise in some cases called plaything deer as a result of their little dimension. This species remains in the Mammalia class and come from the Cervidae family. They are a subspecies of white- tail deer, Odocoileus virginianus, which are of the Odocoileus genus.

While there are 38 subspecies of white- tail deer, Key deer do not have any kind of subspecies. The beginning of the name Odocoileus virginianus clavium can be damaged down right into the definition of each word. Odocoileus originates from the Greek words “pain in the neck” (tooth) and “koilos” (hollow) describing their hollow teeth. Virginianus is a New Latin word that suggests “of Virginia.” Clavium suggests “key” in Latin.

Key Deer Appearance & Habits

Key deer look similar to various other white- tail deer species, yet they are smaller sized. Their hair is red- brownish to grayish- brownish with white on the stomach and under the tail. They normally have a darker tinting in between the eyes. The nose is black and they have unguis. Males, or dollars, have horns. They dropped these horns and grow back a brand-new set annually. Females, or does, do not have horns.

This animal can be in between 24 and 32 inches high at the shoulders and consider in between 44 and 85 extra pounds. At the tiniest, that amounts to the weight of 2 dachshunds. On the greater end, the weight has to do with fifty percent as hefty as a kangaroo. The ordinary elevation for males is 30 inches, regarding 2 times the elevation of a bowling pin. The male’s weight varies from 55 to 85 extra pounds. Though it is not normal, the heaviest males can rise to 100 extra pounds. For females, the ordinary elevation is 26 inches, 12 times as high as a golf tee. Their weight is in between 44 and 65 extra pounds.

Relevant species consist of 37 various other white- trailed deer subspecies. Various other species have the exact same coloring as Key deer yet are bigger. They can get to an elevation of 3.9 feet. Their legs are longer than a Key deer’s and they have an even more slim head.

Key deer are primarily singular. When they do create a team, it is called a herd. They can swim, run, and leap well. They are mild animals, nevertheless, dollars can come to be hostile with each various other when they remain in a rut. They are not worried of humans and will certainly approach them for food sometimes. Key deer are most energetic throughout the late night, evening, and morning.

This mild animal isn’t worried of humans.


Key deer are native to Florida, USA in The United States And Canada. They live largely in the Florida Keys. Their array made use of to consist of every one of the reduced Keys yet after fragmentation, they are just existing in Monroe area. They exist from Sugarloaf Key to Bahia Honda Key.

Key deer reside in an exotic environment in almost all environments. They most generally occupy yearn rocklands, marshes, and timberlands. Rocklands give a resource of freshwater for them and are consequently a huge component of where they live. Key deer require to have accessibility to freshwater. In the clothes dryer months, they will certainly take a trip to locations where there is even more water readily available to them. They can swim from one island to an additional effortlessly.

Predators & Threats

Key deer are herbivores. Their diet includes a lot of plants. Some plants can be hazardous to deer, such as rhubarb. Deer can eat in between 6 and 8 percent of their body weight in a day. For this animal, that would certainly be 3- and- a- fifty percent to 6 extra pounds of food daily. That amounts to as much as 60 times the weight of a golf round.

Grownup Key deer normally do not have any kind of all-natural predators, apart from humans. It is uncommon for a completely expanded Key deer to be eliminated by wildpredators Nevertheless, fawns succumb to huge reptiles.

Ecological dangers position a threat to this species too. Hurricanes can be really harmful to these animals since they can result in sinking and more fragmentation and environment loss. Equally as with lots of various other species, humans create a broad range of issues for these animals. Over- searching of these animals virtually brought about their termination by the 1950s.

After the restriction, their numbers recuperated partly yet they are still impacted by various other human task and advancement. Urban advancement remains to take control of even more of their environment. Unlawful feeding by humans and the intro of non- indigenous plants can interrupt their all-natural diet and effect their nourishment. They are not normally worried of humans and this makes them a lot more vulnerable to human- relevant casualties. Unfortunately, these deer are eliminated by cars and truck crashes relatively usually and this is presently considered their greatest danger.

A bloodsucker called screwworm significantly impacted the Key deer population in between 2016 and 2017. This bloodsucker was dangerous and eliminated approximately one- eighth of the herd. The invasion just lasted one year prior to researchers had the ability to determine just how to quit it. Because screwworms can just mate when, presenting sterilized males was the remedy that appeared to efficiently eliminate the bugs.

” The International Union for the Preservation of Animals” teams Key deer right into a wide group of white- trailed deer. They provide white- trailed deer as the least concern on the IUCN Red Listing. Nevertheless, the government conservation status of Key deer isendangered The Florida Natural Locations Supply identifies them as endangered and seriously endangered.

There have actually been a couple of preservation initiatives implemented for this species. The National Key Deer Sanctuary uses a safe house for these deer. The South Florida Multispecies Healing Strategy was presented in 1999 and is continuous. In 2003, component of united state Course 1 was raised to give a refuge for them to go across below the road.

National Key Deer Sanctuary

Started by the United States Fish and Wild Animals Solution in 1957, the National Key Deer Sanctuary is the primary preservation initiative in position for Key deer. The sanctuary includes 9,200 acres of land for the deer to grow. The place of the sanctuary remains in Huge Pine Key and No Name Key, Florida. Concerning 75% of the population stays in the sanctuary. To assist protect against anymore crashes triggered by humans, the United States Fish and Wild animals Solution inhibits individuals from feeding these wild animals. They likewise ask individuals to protect their garbage and drive gradually when they remain in a location where Key deer live.

What consumes Key deer?

Recognized seekers of young Key deer are American alligators ( Alligator mississippiensis) and American crocodiles ( Crocodylus acutus). They will certainly prey on fawns that are vulnerable or divided from their moms and dads. Prior to the searching restriction in the late 1930s, humans would certainly eat the grownups too.

What do Key deer eat?

Key deer eat over 150 plant species. Their primary food resource is leaves and fruit from red, white and black mangrove trees in addition to berries from thatch hand trees. They likewise eat silver hand berries, acai, lawns, and a selection of blossoms. The sorts of food readily available will certainly transform with the periods and this will certainly change their diet a little.

Reproduction, Children and Life Expectancy

When mating period is underway, dollars remain in what we describe as a rut. Autumn and winter months are the optimal rut periods, though breeding can take place year- round. Males will certainly mate with numerous females. To contend for a doe, dollars will certainly deal with each various other, usually securing their horns. They can come to be really hostile with each other and might hurt and even eliminate an additional dollar throughout the routine. This prevails breeding habits with lots of deer species. The winning dollar makes the right to mate with the doe and they take part in sex-related reproduction to develop. Like all creatures, the doe lugs the embryo of their young in her womb. Pregnancy lasts regarding 7 months prior to the mommy provides real-time birth.

The mommy brings to life one infant. The infant is called a fawn. Fawns can stroll in under one hr after being birthed. They are mobile in as low as thirty minutes. They prey on their mommy’s milk 3 to 4 times a day for regarding 12 to 16 weeks prior to discouraging. When they are discouraged, they eat the exact same foods as older Key deer. Male fawns commonly leave their mommy around one years of age while females might remain around for several years and start having their very own young. Females get to sex-related maturation at just 6 months old. Males develop at 1.5 years old.

The life expectancy of this species is normally 7 to 9 years. According to the Fish & & Wild Animals Solution, the ordinary life expectancy for a male is 2.9 years and for a female is 6.5 years. The earliest recognized Key deer was a female that got to 19 years old.


Searching this species was outlawed in 1939 yet there was currently way too much damages done by poachers over years. In the 1940s, there were much less than 50 Key deer. By 1955, the approximated population was just 25 fully grown people. After time, the numbers have actually boosted and are presently thought about steady. Key deer were proclaimed endangered in 1967 and still are to today.

Scientists think that there are much less than 1,000 Key deer left in the wild. They are done in the Florida Keys. Today, the population dimension is approximated to be in between 700 and 800 people.


  1. EOL, Available here:
  2. Science Kids, Available here:
  3. Reddit, Available here:
  4. Britannica, Available here:
  5. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Available here:
  6. The National Wildlife Federation, Available here:
  7. Nature Serve Explorer, Available here:
  8. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Available here:
  9. National Deer Association, Available here:

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