This time of year I receive a lot of pictures of deer that appear to have a skin condition and questions such as “Does this deer have mange?”
Each fall deer shed their short and reddish summer hair and new darker hair begins to grow. The blotches of new hair can appear like a rash or skin condition. As the fall progresses this new hair will continue to grow and will end up much longer and darker than their summer coat.
The longer hair can trap more air and serve as great insulation during the winter. The dark color absorbs more of the sun’s heat!
Each spring deer shed this long dark hair and begin growing a new coat. During the spring the longer, darker hair will often fall out in clumps and deer appear very rough. Folks often assume the deer barely escaped an attack by a predator, etc. The longer, dark hair is replaced with much shorter and lighter hair. The shorter hair allows the deer’s body heat to easily escape and the lighter color reflects rather than retains warmth from the sun.
The process of deer replacing all their hair during the spring and fall is called molting and allows deer to survive in a very wide variety of climates!
Growing Deer together,