Who’s Who in the Folsom Zoo; Meet dear Davey

By: Telegraph Staff
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Editor’s note: This is a weekly feature in the Folsom Telegraph where readers will get the opportunity to meet Folsom’s furriest. This week’s “Who’s Who in Folsom Zoo” is Davey, the deer.

Did you know the early miners of California thought the ears of the deer they saw looked like the ears of their mules? Since that time the deer of the area were identified as Mule Deer. Mule deer are found in western North America from northwest Canada all the way south into central Mexico.

There are six mule deer, three bucks (males) and three does (females), living at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. One of those deer is a handsome two-year old buck named Davey. Davey was found as an abandoned newborn after his mother was hit by a car. He was kept as a pet causing him to be imprinted (looks to humans for his needs). Because it is illegal in California to have wildlife as pets, California Fish and Wildlife looked for a suitable home for the handsome buck. Davey came to the zoo sanctuary in 2016. He joined the other deer in the deer pasture and is comfortable in the care of zoo keepers.

In June, Davey will be celebrating his second birthday with his deer pasture friends. As the oldest male deer at the zoo sanctuary, he has become the guardian of the other deer. He seems to enjoy his role as overseer of the herd.

Male deer grow antlers in the late spring and usually lose the antlers in late winter, except Davey! Davey had his velvet antlers when he was neutered and will wear them forever.

A Mule deer‘s coat changes with the seasons; short reddish-brown in the summer to longer brownish gray in the winter months. Their large ears move constantly and are almost the length of their head. They have white patches on their chins, throat, underbelly and their rumps with a short, white, black- tipped tail. 

In the wild Mule deer can live nine-to-11 years. In captivity, with care, adequate food, fresh water and space to browse, they can live to be much older. Mule Deer are herbivores (plant eaters). They browse and graze eating a variety of seasonal vegetation including grasses, leaves, acorns (when available) and twigs from trees and shrubs. Not only does Davey browse through the deer pasture at the zoo sanctuary, his natural diet is supplemented daily with hay and deer chow.

A mule deer’s senses are very keen, especially hearing, smell and vision. Their eyes are set on the sides of their head and protrude slightly from the skull. This eye placement gives deer a field of vision of about 310 degrees, allowing them to see predators that may be nearby. Mule Deer are active primarily in mornings and evenings. Their tracks indicate they run on the tips of their hooves allowing them to move at speeds up to 45 m.p.h. for short distances.

There is a saying about wildlife, “Eyes in front born to hunt, Eyes on the side you better hide.” Predators (hunters) like mountain lions, have their eyes are on the front of their head. When you see Davey and the other deer at the zoo sanctuary look at their eyes, where are they located?

The zoo sanctuary is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Watch for changing hours during the warm summer months (starting June 1 – 9 a.m.-3 p.m.) as the residents of the zoo sanctuary (and the zoo keepers and visitors too!) like the cool mornings. See you at the zoo sanctuary!