Body length: 4 1/2 - 6 3/4'
Diet: Green plants, acorns, and woody material
White-tailed deer are the most frequently seen large animal at Tonto National Monument. Smaller and more graceful than mule deer, white-tailed deer are easily distinguished by their bushy white tail, which curls upward when the deer "hightails it", or runs away.
White-tailed deer graze in grassland areas on the upper slopes of Cave Creek Canyon in winter, and come down to the creek near the Visitor Center to drink during dry months. They are excellent runners, and have been clocked at up to 40 mph. Nevertheless, these deer are preyed upon by many carnivores, including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, and humans. Approximately 100,000,000 pounds of venison from this species is harvested by hunters in the US each year.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Botanists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.