Deer Oh Deer!
Nature in Santa Clarita, not what you look at but what you see.
After our recent winter rains, the green grass is finally beginning to sprout. This is good new for the mule deer, which survives by browsing on woody and green plants. Mule deer commonly feed at dawn and at dusk and at mid-day during the winter months. But when a herd of deer is grazing out in the open they are visible to predators such as coyotes, bears and mountain lions. So how do mule deer eat while avoid being eaten?
Mule deer have several physical adaptations to help keep them safe.
Camouflage. Their grey-brown fur helps them blend into their environment.
Eyesight. They have average eyesight but are quick to detect moving objects like a stalking coyote.
Peripheral Vision. Their eyes are located on the sides of their skull, which increases their field of vision, all the better to detect predators.
Hearing. They have large keen ears that move independently from each other, like two satellite dishes.
Mule deer also have several behavioral adaptations to help keep them safe.
Mule deer often travel in small groups. Your mother was right – there is safety in number.
Mule deer can browse for awhile and then go off to a secluded place to regurgitate and chew their food (otherwise known as chewing the cud).
But if all else fails, mule deer can run very fast, using a technique known as stotting. Stotting involves leaping into the air and landing on all four legs after each leap. This technique has two advantages – it allows the deer to move rapidly and nimbly leap over obstacles that might slow a predator.
Our next Full Moon hike is scheduled at Towsley Canyon on Saturday, March 3 from 6:30 -8:30 PM. Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.
To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to http://www.hometownstation.com/or tune in to AM 1220.