An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

White-tailed Deer Diet In Transition

10-25-16-deer-scat-20161017_5319Even if you didn’t know that a white-tailed deer’s diet changes in the fall, their scat would be a dead giveaway. Its texture and formation are excellent indicators of what a deer has been eating. During the summer, individual pellets are often lumped together due to the moisture content of their summer diet (grasses, clover, alfalfa, apples and other herbaceous food). As winter approaches, deer transition to a diet of twigs, leaves and acorns which results in the formation of individual, dry pellets. At this time of year, it is possible to find both forms of deer scat.

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    It’s interesting how/why a large animal has such small scat pellets, sheep as well.

    November 1, 2016 at 8:20 am

  2. Betsy

    Love it!!! Did you do that for me, Mary?? Thanks… Betsy (McCann)


    November 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

  3. Maggy

    The deer around our house have my carrots in their scat!

    November 1, 2016 at 2:58 pm

  4. Mary, your new book, as well as Animal Mouths and Animal Legs all arrived at my school library today- just wonderful work! Thanks for all you do.

    November 1, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    • So glad you and the children are enjoying them!

      November 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

  5. Mimsy Beckwith

    Mary, do you know if deer’s digestion processes necessarily alter with the change of season/food sources? That is, am I doing harm in handing out an alfalfa block in December if the herd who shelters here has turned the corner to eating acorns and twigs?? Thank you!

    November 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

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