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Odocoileus virginianus clavium
Smaller than the White-tailed deer, it is believed that this subspecies migrated to the keys from the mainland thousands of years ago. As the Wisconsin glacier melted the seas rose to create the islands we now refer to as the Keys. These Key deer are the smallest of all white-tailed deer. They are 24 to 28 inches high at the shoulder. Does weigh approximately 45 to 65 pounds while the larger male can be 55 to 75 pounds. Key deer are herbivores feeding mainly on native plants. Also, they can tolerate small amounts of salt in their water. Today there are between 250 and 300 of these deer remaining and they are protected by law. Federal law prohibits the disturbance and feeding of the deer. We must respect the deer and their habitat so we can ensure their survival throughout the Keys.