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White-tailed Deer Pheromone Glands

11-15-13 white-tailed deer glands 582Animals communicate with their own species through strongly scented chemicals known as pheromones. Many mammals have glands that generate pheromones. The messages the scents convey vary according to the pheromone that is used – they can indicate alarm, territorial boundaries, the age of an animal and/or its sex, hierarchy and the receptiveness of an animal during the breeding season, among other things. White-tailed deer have scent glands where you might not expect them – their heads, legs and feet. Their primary glands and their functions are: forehead (scent left on antler rubs and overhanging branches), preorbital (near eye, doe uses it to communicate with fawns), interdigital (between the two toes of each hoof, foul-smelling yellow substance left on the ground with every step a deer takes), nasal (inside nose, may produce a scent, or may just lubricate the nose), preputial (on inside of buck’s penal sheath, function unknown), tarsal (inside of hind legs near middle joint, urinated on to spread scent, used intensely by bucks during rut) and metatarsal (outside of hind legs between ankle and hoof, function, if any, unknown).

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5 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Insectamonarca's Blog and commented:
    I have been learning about butterfly pheromones. Interesting subject. Thanks for the post.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

  2. Albert Gordon

    About the tarsal scent gland on deer hind legs – The scent of this gland on both bucks and does is, for me, a pleasant aroma, unlike any other.

    November 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    • I have to admit that’s one thing I haven’t had the opportunity to smell — I love the castoreum of beavers and even the odor of porcupine scat, so it’s likely a tarsal gland scent would be right up my alley!

      November 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

  3. Mary. I love your blog. I have added your blog site to my blog roll on my blog site.

    November 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

  4. great post, very informative. I wonder why the other
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    March 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

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