Both behaviorally and physically, White-tailed Deer fawns have adaptations that enhance their survival – they remain lying down and motionless for their first few weeks while their mother is off foraging and stir only when she returns periodically to nurse them. They are scentless for their first few days, and dappled coats enable them to be well camouflaged. Reduced heart rate and breathing when danger is nearby also increase their ability not to be noticed.
Even so, fawns have a low life expectancy. Once detected by a predator, they are very vulnerable. Black Bears and Coyotes, especially, are quick to take advantage of this easy meal. Proof of this can be found in the scat of these predators. (Inset photo: Black Bear scat containing the hair and bones of a fawn).
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.