Difference Between Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer

Mule Deer vs Whitetail Deer

Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer are closely related cousins sharing the same generic name. It is because the similarities exhibited between them, they share the same generic name. However, the species are different as for some of the important differences between them. This article explores and emphasizes those interesting differences followed by their characteristics.

Mule Deer

Male deer, Odocoileus hemionus, is an indigenous deer species ranging in the Western region of North America. There are 10 subspecies of mule deer varying according to the geographical localities. Their large mule-like ears are the reason for calling them as mule deer. They have distinctive characteristics features, which are useful in identification. Their antlers are bifurcated and their tip of tail is black in colour. Mule deer is a hugely built animal with a body length that measures more than two metres from nose to tail and an average height at the withers averages more than one metre. An adult male weighs about 70 to 140 kilograms, while a female has a weight ranging from 57 to79 kilograms. As most of other deer species, mule deer also shed their antlers annually soon after each mating season, and then the regrowth starts. They usually live for about 9 – 10 years in wild and much more in captivity.

Whitetail Deer

Odocoileus virginianus, Whitetail, White-tailed deer, or Virginia deer are different names for the same animal described here. It is a medium sized deer native to Americas. An adult male has about 60 to 130 kilograms of weight and they are about 80 to 100 centimetres tall at the withers. The body length of whitetails from nose to tail is about 160 to 220 centimetres. Their coat colour is reddish brown in summer and changes to grey brown during summer. The characteristic feature of white-tailed deer is the presence of white fur at the underside of their tails. They raise their characteristically coloured tail, which act as a signal of alarm during escaping from predators. As in all most other deer species, whitetail males also shed and regrow their antlers every year. It is interesting that the age of a whitetail could be predicted by observing the snout and the coat colour, because in older deer the snout is longer and coat is greyer compared to younger ones. However, there are about 30 – 40 subspecies of them varying according to many conditions, but predominantly with the geographical variations. Whitetails have exceptional individual genetic variations, which make them more adaptive to the changing environmental conditions. These diverse and interesting animals have a lifespan that ranges from six to fourteen years in wild.

What is the difference between Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer?

· Both of them have the same generic name, but different species names.

· Geographical distribution is wider for whitetails compared to mule deer, which is because whitetails have a tremendous genetic variation among them.

· Mule deer is larger compared to whitetail deer in body size.

· Mule deer has mule-like large ears but those are small in whitetail deer.

· Whitetails have white coloured fur under their tails, whereas mule deer have white tails with a black tip.

· The antlers of mule deer are bifurcated rather than branching from a single main beam. However, whitetails have a main beam with individual tines coming up.

  • thandiwe

    this website says “their coat color is reddish brown in the summer and changes to grey brown during summer.”