Fawns Have Escape Plans

"It's a lion*, run!" strategy doesn't seem to work out very well for white-tailed deer fawns.

What works, it turns out, is an escape plan:

Fawns often bypass the nearest "escape cover" to seek out better habitats for shaking off predators, new research has found.

Baby deer are more likely to survive if they use this selective technique rather than simply fleeing to the closest refuge.

The study in the journal Animal Behaviour, followed white-tailed deer fawns in the Great Plains of the US.

The fawns' behaviour was a surprise to the research team, they said.

"We expected them to look for cover as soon as possible and try to take that cover… (but) they actually went to a better cover rather than the first available," says Jonathan Jenks, distinguished professor of wildlife and fisheries sciences at South Dakota State University.

Link (Photo: ForestWander/Wikipedia)

*Okay, there's no lion in their native habitat, but gimme a literary license here. If you're a stickler for technicalities, read that sentence as "It's a coyote, run!" 


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It's interesting to see this in this venue. Deer hunters for generations have known that a wounded deer will typically be found in the second change in terrain it encounters during its flight.
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