Identifying the Deer of Canada

by Jennifer Smith October 10, 2016

Did you know that there are 47 types of deer species worldwide? Although this is true, we want gardeners to be on the look-out for the five types of deer in Canada: the White-tailed deer, Mule Deer, Caribou, Moose and Wapiti. All types of deer are beautiful and majestic in their own way and can be damaging to gardens.





1) White-tailed Deer

The white-tailed deer is the most common deer roaming North America. The coat is tan or reddish-brown with a white ring around the eye. Only the bucks have antlers. Raising their tail means that danger is near, or so they think. White-tailed deer have excellent horizontal sight; but they do not see well vertically. They are known to carry tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease that can be harmful to humans and pets.

2) The Mule Deer

Antler ears on a Mule Deer are large in proportion to the head. They are appropriately named after the mule. Their rumps have a large patch of white by the short black-tipped tail. Mule Deer can be found in Manitoba as well as the foothills of North America.

3) Caribou

Did you know that Rudolph is actually a Caribou? In the cooler months, Caribou eat tree lichens and in the summertime they graze tundra plants. There are two types of Caribou: Peary Caribou and Wood Land Caribou. Peary Caribou graze on herbs and grasses including bark whereas Wood Land Caribou prefer tree and ground lichens.

4) Moose

Every Canadian province with a forest experiences a sighting of moose except for Nunavut. Moose are limited to cooler regions because of their large bodies. Moose have an inability to sweat and the heat produced by fermentation in their gut will not allow them comfort in hotter climates. Moose like to eat leaves, bark and pine cones; but they will settle for buds from trees and shrubs as well as aquatic plants.

5) Wapiti

Wapiti, with long-backed antlers, can be found along the Rockies in Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon and scattered throughout Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Wapiti tend to stay in open areas rather than woody areas. They are light brown in color with dark necks and legs.

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith