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April 16, 2020 2 min read

What do deer eat in the desert? The desert presents a unique game plan to the deer, but they have survival traits. In this article, we find out their adapted deeding patterns.

The desert region provides a very different amount of nourishment from other habitats. To the deer, this demands a different game plan to have all the nutrients they require daily. However, the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and the smaller white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virgininianus) are well known to this region.

The mule deer weighs from 100 to 150 and up to 400 pounds. The white-tailed deer in this region never goes over 110 pounds. Therefore, the deer in the region has smaller body parts than their relatives elsewhere. Because of the limited diet in these areas, you may wonder what it is they eat precisely. Therefore, in this article, we will answer those puzzling questions in your heart.

What do deer eat in the desert?

Deer usually eat more of woody plants and especially favor buckbrush, jojoba, cat claw, fairy duster, mesquite leaves, and beans. They also graze on a variety of grasses and fobs. Mule deer can also feed on blackberry and raspberry vines, twigs, lower branches of trees, fresh green leaves, mistletoe, grapes, ferns, and mushrooms.

The mule deer have can also eat needle grass, bitter cherry, kohleria, sierra juniper, western chokecherry, wild cherry, wild oats, dogwood, cedar, black oak, and a host of others. During the late fall and summer, they depend on a variety of mushrooms for their protein, potassium, moisture, and phosphorus sources.

Like other deer species, their feeding pattern changes with changing season. Deer may also migrate during the fall towards other areas where they can enjoy access to their meals.

Feeding and survival

Nevertheless, because deer are known for their versatile palate and ability to move at every other minute, they can avoid most predators for stretches of times. You must also know that these predators range from humans to coyote, bear, wolves, eagles, mountain lions, and bobcats.

You should also know that since they prefer densely covered areas to protect against these predators, they could also make do at times. For instance, the mule deer will create a temporary resting place in leaves or grasses. They can even scratch a level of depression into the eat using their hooves when they cannot find any other resting place.
Should you feed deer in desert areas?

Sometimes humans get involved in feeding deer to survive the harsh winters. However, wildlife agencies discourage this practice and have been known to fine defaulters. This is because humans may do more harm by increasing the risks of spreading disease when the deer gather to eat at those artificial food sources.

Concluding Thoughts

What do deer eat in the desert? The most straightforward answer is that deer eat whatever plant-based meal they can find in the deserts. They favor woody plants, raspberry and blackberry vines, grapes, ferns, green leaves, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Nevertheless, their palate is so versatile, that they can make do with whatever the season throws at them.