The Key Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) is a small and unique subspecies of the White-tailed deer. Found only in the Florida Keys, this beautiful animal is listed as an endangered species and has been protected since 1957. It stands between two and four feet tall, making it one of the smallest deer species in North America. The Key Deer’s coat is grayish-brown to reddish-brown in color and its underside is yellowish-white. Its tail is grayish-brown on top with a white underside. The Key Deer has large black eyes, short legs, and small, pointed hooves. Its name comes from the many keys and islands that it inhabits throughout the Florida Keys.A Key Deer is a subspecies of white-tailed deer that is native to the Florida Keys. They are the smallest species of deer in North America and weigh only 40-60 pounds. They are listed as an endangered species, with their population estimated to be around 800.

Physical Characteristics

The Key Deer is a species of miniature white-tailed deer that is native to the Florida Keys. These deer are smaller than other white-tailed deer and typically weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. They have reddish-brown fur with a white underside and white spots on their back and sides. Their antlers are small and can reach up to eight inches in length. They also have large eyes, long ears, and short legs, which make them well adapted for life in the Florida Keys.


Key Deer are generally quite shy, but can become accustomed to human presence if given enough time. They are most active during the night when they search for food in the brush or on the ground. During the day they sleep in thick vegetation or under tree roots to stay cool and out of sight from predators. When startled or threatened, they will flee at high speeds in an effort to escape danger.


Key Deer inhabit tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rocklands, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and other coastal habitats throughout the Florida Keys. They require access to water at all times, so they are often found near ponds or streams. They can also be found in marshes or coastal areas with plenty of food sources like grasses, leaves, fruits, acorns and other vegetation.


The Key Deer’s diet consists mainly of grasses, leaves and fruits from shrubs such as wax myrtle and sea grape as well as acorns from live oak trees. In addition to vegetation, these deer also feed on insects such as flies, beetles and caterpillars. They are also known to eat mangrove seeds from fallen branches during certain times of year when food is scarce .

Habitat of the Key Deer

The Key deer is a subspecies of white-tailed deer that is found exclusively in the Florida Keys. It is an endangered species, so its habitat is a critical factor in its survival. The Key deer inhabit the hardwood hammocks and mangrove islands of the lower Keys, ranging from Big Pine Key to Boca Chica Key. They are usually found near water and rest during the day in thick vegetation, coming out to feed at night.

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Key deer prefer freshwater marshland areas with high salinity and freshwater sloughs, as well as rocky outcrops and scrubby flatwoods. They also seek refuge in pine rocklands or tropical hardwood hammocks for shade and protection from predators. The best habitat for the Key deer is provided by mangrove islands which have a variety of protective cover, food sources, and fresh water.

The presence of human activity can have a detrimental effect on their habitat by disrupting their natural behavior or destroying their natural homes. In order to protect these fragile ecosystems, conservation efforts must be made to protect habitats from any type of development or destruction. This includes protection from predators such as domestic dogs and cats, as well as hunting and fishing activities that could disturb or destroy vital vegetation.

The Diet of the Key Deer

The Key Deer is an endangered species found only in the Florida Keys, a chain of islands located in the southernmost part of Florida. As such, their diet consists mainly of plants and fruits that are native to the region. This includes fruits such as coconuts, sea grapes, and various other types of berries. They also feed on grasses and other vegetation found on the islands. In addition to plant-based foods, they also feed on small invertebrates such as insects, spiders, and crustaceans.

When conditions are right, they will also take advantage of a variety of food sources available in the ocean. These include crabs, mollusks, fish, worms, and even small sea turtles. During times when these food sources are not readily available, they will turn to scavenging for leftovers from other animals or humans.

The diet of the Key Deer is an important factor in maintaining its population and ensuring its survival in this fragile ecosystem. As such, it is important to avoid activities that could disrupt their natural feeding patterns or cause them harm. For example, fishing near areas frequented by Key Deer should be done with caution so as not to disturb their natural habitat or cause them harm by catching them in fishing nets or lines.

Reproduction of the Key Deer

The Key deer is a small species of deer found only on the islands of the Florida Keys in the United States. The reproduction and life cycle of these animals is unique and fascinating. The mating season for the Key deer takes place in late autumn and winter, with peak activity occurring in December and January. During this time, males will compete with each other for access to females by engaging in ritualized fights. These fights involve pushing, butting heads, and even locking antlers. After mating has occurred, females will give birth to a single fawn from April through June. The fawns are born with spotted coats that provide them with camouflage from potential predators.

Life Cycle of the Key Deer

The life expectancy of a Key deer is around 11 years in the wild and up to 17 years in captivity. Fawns reach sexual maturity at 10-12 months old and will typically breed during their second year. Females can produce one fawn per year, although twins are not uncommon. As they age, males will grow larger than females and develop a more muscular physique as well as larger antlers that they use during mating season fights.
The Key deer has several natural predators including bobcats, coyotes, panthers, raccoons, alligators, and even humans when they venture too close to developed areas or roads. With proper conservation efforts however, their populations have been increasing steadily over the last few decades and they are now considered a protected species in Florida.

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Predators of the Key Deer

The Key deer is a species of deer that is found in the Florida Keys. These small deer are faced with many predators, including humans, coyotes, bobcats, panthers, and American alligators. Humans pose the greatest threat to these animals because of habitat destruction and hunting. The Key deer is a protected species in the state of Florida, but that doesn’t stop poachers from hunting them illegally.

Coyotes are also a big threat to the Key deer population. Coyotes hunt in packs and can take down large prey such as adult Key deer. Bobcats also hunt smaller prey such as young Deer and often hunt alone or in pairs. Panthers are also known to hunt Key deer and they have been seen stalking them in Big Pine Key National Wildlife Refuge.

American alligators are also a major predator of the Key deer. Alligators will often lurk in marshes and swamps waiting for an unsuspecting key deer to wander by. They use surprise attacks to catch their prey off guard and can kill larger animals such as adult key deer with ease.

The combination of human interference, poaching, and native predators has caused the key deer population to decline drastically over the years. Conservation efforts have been put in place to protect these animals from further decline, but more needs to be done if this species is going to survive.

Conservation Status of the Key Deer

The Key Deer is an endangered species of white-tailed deer that is native to the Florida Keys. It is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer in North America, typically weighing between forty and sixty pounds. The total population of Key Deer is estimated to be about 800, making it one of the most endangered species in the United States.

The primary threats to Key Deer are habitat destruction and loss due to human development, as well as predation by feral hogs and dogs. In addition, vehicle collisions are a major cause of mortality for this species. To help protect the remaining population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established a protected area known as the National Key Deer Refuge, which encompasses over 8,000 acres of land on Big Pine Key and No Name Key.

The National Key Deer Refuge also includes an additional 4,200 acres of submerged aquatic habitat that provides important habitat for spawning fish and other aquatic organisms. As part of its conservation efforts, the refuge also conducts research projects to monitor and better understand key deer population dynamics and behavior so that effective management strategies can be developed.

In addition to conservation efforts, there are several public outreach programs in place to help educate people about the importance of protecting this species from further decline. These programs include school visits by wildlife biologists who discuss the ecology and conservation needs for this species, as well as public events such as “Key Deer Days” where volunteers provide educational activities for children about protecting this rare species.

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Key Deer

The Key Deer is a species of white-tailed deer that is native to the Florida Keys. It is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer, and one of the smallest members of the Cervidae family. The Key Deer is found only in the Lower Florida Keys and ranges from Big Pine Key to just south of Marathon. Its habitat consists of hardwood hammocks, mangrove swamps, and freshwater wetlands.


Key Deer are small in size compared to other species of white-tailed deer. They usually stand around two feet tall at the shoulder and weigh less than 80 pounds. They have reddish-brown fur with a distinctive white patch on their rump and tail. They have large ears and a short muzzle, which helps them survive in their hot and humid environment.


Key Deer are mostly active at night, but they can also be seen during daytime hours, especially in early morning or late afternoon when it is cooler outside. They feed on grasses, shrubs, fruits, and nuts that are native to the area. During mating season (October through January), males will compete for dominance by sparring with each other using their antlers.


The Key Deer population has been threatened by human activity in their habitat over the last several decades. Habitat destruction due to road construction and development has had a major impact on their numbers as well as vehicle collisions with deer crossing roads at night. In addition, there has been increased predation from nonnative species such as raccoons and feral cats that were introduced to the area by humans. Hunting is not allowed in the Lower Florida Keys so poaching has not been an issue for this species.

Conservation Efforts

In order to protect this unique species, conservation efforts have been put into place such as fencing off areas where deer are known to cross roads at night as well as implementing speed limits for vehicles traveling through those areas during certain times of day when deer activity is highest. Additionally, restrictions on land development in the area have been put into place in order to protect key deer habitat from being destroyed or altered by humans.


The Key Deer animal is one of the most unique species in the world. Not only is it incredibly small, but it also has adapted to living on the small islands of the Florida Keys. In order to ensure that this species continues to thrive, conservation efforts must be taken to protect their habitats and ensure that their population does not decline further. The Key Deer is an important part of the Florida Keys ecosystem, and should be preserved for future generations.

Though this species may not be well known, it is a fascinating creature with a long history in Florida. Its unique size and habitat make it an interesting species to observe and appreciate. With a little conservation effort, we can help ensure that the Key Deer remains part of our world for many years to come.

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