We all know that young cats are called kittens, but how many baby-specific names can you list for other species? For instance, baby rabbits are actually known as kits, young coyotes are pups (check out this video of some of the pups in The Parklands!), infant owls are owlets or fledglings, and before they become adults, deer start off as fawns.
The type of deer that we see in The Parklands is the White-Tailed Deer, and it can be found from the south of Canada down to South America. These deer like to stay in forested areas where they can find protection from the worst that winter has to offer, as well as relief from the sun under shady trees during the summer. In addition to shelter from the elements, the forest also makes a good home for these herbivores, because they can find a variety of foods to eat, such as leaves, grass, nuts, and fruit.
Given that the this deer’s mating season falls between October and December and that the gestation period lasts about 6 and ½ months, we’re right in the middle of the season to see lots of fawns around The Parklands – take a look at one in this video, shot in our very own Pope Lick Park!
Although the does and bucks (adult females and males) of these species change colors based on the season, fawns are born with red-brown coats covered in white spots. Though they certainly add to the animal’s cuteness, those spots actually serve a purpose: camouflage.
At their earliest stage, fawns aren’t yet fast or strong enough to keep up with mom while she goes off in search of food or escape from predators that might be lurking in the area. For these reasons, the mother deer intentionally leaves the fawn well hidden while she is away. Even though seeing a fawn on its own may look strange and worrisome to us, remember that this is all perfectly normal for the White-Tailed Deer. So while it may be tempting to help out what looks like a baby deer in need, we should actually leave them be.
Kids in grades 4 – 6 interested in learning more about the creatures we share The Parklands with should sign up for our Wildlife Biology Summer Camp, which will take place the week of July 10th.
Story by Arlana Agiliga, Yale Bulldog Intern
A rising senior at Yale University, Arlana came on board in May 2015 as a Bulldog Intern from the group Bulldogs in the Bluegrass, and will be with The Parklands team through the end of July. Bulldogs in the Bluegrass is an internship program that brings Yale students to Louisville to gain hands-on experience at a number of different organizations.
While working with The Parklands this summer, Arlana plans to experience several different departments, including development, communications, and even gardening! Through previous internships, Arlana has worked in the fields of social entrepreneurship, law, and housing services. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Latin music, playing sports, and eating dessert. Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Arlana looks forward to not only exploring The Parklands this summer, but also the city of Louisville.