Look out, Rudolph. There’s a new deer in town. Several of them, actually. Baby deer are living proof that deer are the dogs of the woods. We’d befriend them all if we could. Why do they always have to run? What does Snow White have that we don’t?
At least these sweet baby deer can hold us over until we get to pet a real one.
Baby Deer Sleep Curled Up in Balls, Just Like Puppies Do
Baby deer are technically called fawn, coming from the Old English word meaning “glad.”
Whatever you call them, they look like spotted throw pillows, and we love them.
They Also Snuggle Their Mamas
While fawn can walk much earlier than human babies can, they’re a lot more like us than you’d think. They rely on their mothers heavily in the first few weeks of life, exclusively nursing for those first two weeks straight.
They slowly wean off milk, shifting to a vegetarian diet of foliage by the age of 6 months.
And Look Inquisitively at Strangers
Hey there, little guy! We’d say give us a smile, but baby deer are only born with four teeth, all on their lower jaw.
By the time they’re 18 months old, however, they’ll have a full set of 32 teeth. Interestingly, deer don’t have front teeth on their upper jaw, using only their molars to chew.
In the Winter, Baby Deer Get Extra Floofy
Like many mammals, a deer’s coat grows in thicker during colder months. Deer usually mate between October and December, and babies are born six months later in spring or early summer.
That’s why baby deer are often used to symbolize springtime.
Whatever Time of Year They’re Born, They Usually Stick Together
The babies do, anyway. Mother deer often leave their babies alone for hours at a time while they go off to search for food. The babies often stay together, laying peacefully in the grass awaiting mama deer’s return.
Mother deer rarely stray more than 100 yards from their fawn, so there’s no need to be alarmed if you see a pair of baby deer alone.
See? Look at This Cute Duo Waiting To Say Hi
First-time deer moms usually have one fawn at a time, but older ones do often give birth to twins or triplets. Up to 20 percent of deer births are triplets, which is drastically higher than the rate of triplet births in humans.
This happens more frequently when food is readily available prior to breeding season.
Baby Deer Are Agile From an Early Age
Although baby deer spend much of the first 10 days of life just resting in the grass, they can stand within 30 minutes and walk within a few hours of birth.
From there, their agility only grows, helping them to wind and weave quickly through rugged woodland terrain should they need to escape a predator.
They’re Surprisingly Fast, Too
Fawns aren’t as fast as fully grown deer, but they can still run up to 20 miles per hour. Strangely, smaller babies tend to be faster than larger ones.
Even the youngest of fawns is more than capable of outrunning most threats, and their long tails help them to keep their balance.
And Those Eyes. We Can’t.
Touching any wildlife is ill-advised. However, if you slipped up and picked up a baby deer who appeared to be abandoned, don’t worry about it too much.
Mother deer don’t abandon their babies just because they smell like humans, so put the baby back where you found it and give them space.
Bambi? Is That You?
We hope not, because we’re still recovering from the brutal beginning of that movie. It was lucky that Bambi was a boy, however, since male baby deer usually leave their mothers at an earlier age than females.
Males usually venture out on their own around the one-year mark, while females hang out with mom for another full year.
Bro, I Was Going to Eat That
What counts as a scandal in the human world is totally normal in the animal kingdom. Twins like these can actually be from two different fathers.
In fact, about a quarter of all twins in the deer world have different fathers. Researchers even discovered triplets with all different fathers.
Most Fawns Do Have Those Signature White Spots
Part of the reason fawns can be left alone at an early age is that their cute spots double as excellent camouflage.
They often rest in dense grass and shrubbery, and their speckled appearance makes them harder for predators to spot.
And the Way They Run Is Precious
Baby deer leap gracefully wherever they go. It makes us look like awkward potatoes in comparison, but we’re OK with that. They only weigh between 4 and 8 pounds at birth, weighing about double that within two weeks.
Even then, they’re about the size of a miniature poodle prancing through the woods. Adorable.
What’s the Adoption Fee Like on This One?
All jokes aside, there are occasional instances when a baby deer does need a helping human hand. If a fawn is resting quietly in the grass, the odds are good that its mom isn’t far.
If the fawn is crying and wandering around aimlessly, hasn’t moved from the same spot in more than 10 hours, seems lethargic or ill, or has visible injuries, call a state-licensed wildlife rehab center for advice.
Or This One. Actually, We’ll Adopt Them Both
In some regard, forest puppies are almost better pets than real ones. Unlike dogs, baby deer are virtually odorless.
This is yet another defense mechanism to help them avoid detection by coyotes, wolves and other creatures who might see them as a tasty meal.
Occasionally, Baby Deer Have Blue Eyes
It’s rare, but it’s possible for deer to inherit the recessive gene for blue eyes.
Usually, blue eyes in deer gradually change color to a rich chocolate brown, but if they’ve inherited the trait, they’ll keep their blue eyes for life.
But Deep Chocolate Brown Eyes Are the Best
Those are puppy-dog eyes if ever we’ve seen them. As cute as they are, feeding wild deer is ill-advised. It can lead the deer to become dependent on people for food, which makes them less likely to thrive on their own. Their cuteness and puppy-like charm are best appreciated from a distance.
When They Curl Up to Sleep, They Look Like Little Powdered Donuts
What’s interesting is that, while baby deer always sleep lying down, some adult deer sleep standing up.
Most, however, sleep on their side with their head raised to keep an ear out for predators on the prowl.
Speaking of predators, deer are prey animals, so staying alert is important for their survival.
Deer often sleep with their eyes open, zoning out into a dream-like state marked by a reduction in brain activity. It’s like a cat nap with their eyes wide open.
This One Is Slightly Less Donuty, but They Still Have Plenty of Sprinkles
This little guy looks way too alert to be secretly snoozing. When he does doze off, it won’t be for long. During the day, deer accumulate about 4.5 hours of sleep but only in brief intervals. Their naps last between 30 seconds and three minutes.
If only we were that good at taking power naps! At night, they do reach deeper stages of sleep, however, spending about 30 minutes in REM.
Deer Are Shy Creatures, so If You Spot One, Give Them Plenty of Space
Seriously, back off. We hate it, too, but even if you can condition a baby deer to trust you, it’s not in the woodland baby’s best interest. When deer become habituated to humans, they begin to rely on people for food. Come winter, these deer lack the skills they need to survive in the wild.
While it’s best to leave them be, if a baby deer camps out in your yard, take it as a compliment. That means the deer feels safe enough around you to relax.
To Be a Deer Hanging Out in a Mountain Stream
Like all animals, deer need water to survive, and they’re not picky about where it comes from. Any springs, ponds, lakes or puddles are fair game.
They also get water from the food they eat, which is referred to as “preformed water.”
Or Wandering in a Peaceful Meadow
While this cute baby deer looks a little more grown up than some of the others, they’re still clearly a baby.
The signature white spots baby deer are born with fade when they grow up, disappearing between the ages of 3 and 4 months.
Their Big Ears Probably Feel Like Velvet
Baby deer have large, soft ears, and they’re not just for looks.
Their ears can move independently, swiveling to detect sound from all directions and pinpoint where the sound is coming from.
Mom? Mom? Mommmm?
Deer hearing is interesting for another reason. Humans ears have a leg up with low frequency sounds, but deer are better at picking up high frequencies. They can hear ultrasonic sounds that are far too high for humans to detect.
That’s why deer sometimes freeze and bound away when you quietly approach: They can hear sounds you’re making that you’re blissfully unaware of. This little fella can also tell the difference between approaching danger and his mom’s return.
OK, I’ll Just Wait Here Until She Gets Back
The even cooler facet of a deer’s sense of hearing is its elevated ability to filter out background noise. If you’ve ever been in the woods, you know there’s a lot going on — leaves rustling, birds chirping, branches cracking, you get it.
Baby deer can tell which of these sounds are worth paying attention to, filtering out the rest. It’s like being able to hear your name in a crowded restaurant, only more impressive.
Hope It Doesn’t Start Snowing
In winter, deer don’t hibernate like many animals do. They do, however, reduce their activity level to conserve energy.
Some species of deer, like mule deer and reindeer, are adapted to colder climates and stay lively and quick in all but the most frigid weather.
JK, Baby Deer Are Totally Chill With Snow
For the most part, deer don’t mind snow. They tend to seek out sheltered areas with dense vegetation that helps to trap heat and keep certain areas of the woods warmer and less windy than the rest.
This doesn’t apply to areas inhabited by wolves, however. In these regions, deer gravitate toward human settlements since wolves are less likely to approach.
The Way Baby Deer Run Is Adorably Awkward
Come late spring, you’re more likely to spot baby deer frolicking along roadways. They learn to walk right after birth, and young fawns don’t initially fear humans.
If one walks up to you, resist the urge to rescue them. The odds are good that mama deer is just around the corner, ready to pop out as soon as you leave.
Once deer grow up, their long legs pack some serious power. Deer can easily launch themselves over obstacles 7 feet tall or higher. For comparison, a deer can jump with enough vertical height to hop over Shaquille O’Neal.