The Key Deer is a small species (in population and in stature) of deerthat lives in the Florida Keys. It is in the same family as the Virginia whitetailed deer. The Key Deer is about 26 inches tall and weigh an average of about55 pounds. The males have antlers, and the antlers grow in cycles.

They droptheir antlers at the beginning of spring, and they grow back by June. The deerfeed on indigenous plants including the red mangrove, the black mangrove, andthe white mangrove. The Key Deer can drink water with some salt in it, but needsfresh water to survive. Although it seems awkward, the Key Deer is a fairly goodswimmer, and at times will swim from key to key. The Key Deer are endangered fortwo main reasons, the first and most detrimental is the loss of habitat. TheEverglades has been cleared away for highways, and other commercialdevelopments, and it has caused a huge drop in the population of Key Deer, amongother animals. Another big reason why Key Deer have been disappearing are thehighways in southern Florida. You have heard the expression like a deer inheadlights, and it is used because when deer see headlights, it freezes.

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This, although it makes for a good simile, causes a lot of road kill accidentswith Key Deer. The National Key Deer Refuge was opened to breed Key Deer, andsince its opening, the population has increased by almost %600!!! Also, Ms.Riskin, please make sure that you do not feed any Key Deer, because it causesthem to be comfortable around humans, which sounds nice, but it is part of thereason that they hang around near the highway. So, that just about sums it up;thanks for not feeding Key Deer, and keep your foot on those breaks.

BibliographyKeyDeer February, 2000 http://www.shadow.net/~grgreen/glades/deer.htmlKirkpatrick, Charles M. Deer The World Book Encyclopedia.

Volume D, 1986R., Austin. Key Deer February, 2000 http://www.miamisci.org/ecolinks/everglades/keydeerinfo.htmlZoology and Animals