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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Florida Key Deer of Big Pine Key

There are only a few things that prevent development from overtaking the Florida Keys, one of them is the endangered Florida Key Deer on Big Pine Key, Florida. The other things are a wood rat, a cotton mouse and a bird. For years, Big Pine has been trying to figure out how to push the Key Deer off of the island in order to really develop low lying, buggy Big Pine. Having been unable to do so with the wildlife refuge for Key Deer firmly in place, the islanders (at least the residents) have embraced the tiny creatures. These deer are genetically related to Virginia white tailed deer and do have a separate genus of their own. They are constrained by the lack of graze on a scrub filled area full of poisonous trees. They grow to no larger than 2 1/2 feet in height (a deer in miniature). Fawns have little hooves the size of a quarter. These are the Key Deer of Big Pine.

Yearling Buck with 1st year antlers.
Adult Florida Key Deer Buck
Florida Key Deer Yearling Buck
Florida Key Deer Doe and Fawn
Florida Key Deer Buck, Doe, Fawn
Florida Key Deer Doe
Florida Key Deer Portrait (note strip around the muzzle)

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