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R O O T I N '

This Whitetail Buck's nose was covered with a bit of dirt after he consumed some freshly dug roots. I took this photo back in November but needed some help with identification of the roots. I had never seen this behavior before then, the woods were practically littered with rooting activity, it looked exactly how it does when Bears feast on acorns that have fallen onto the forest floor.


Then one afternoon during the rut I saw the activity firsthand. Many deer were rooting through the leaves and I didn't think nothing of it because I always see them doing this with acorns. But then I started noticing some deer with long strands of roots hanging from their mouth, slurping them in like a child with a spaghetti noodle. They were digging these roots up with their hooves and eating them like crazy. They were going at it like it was some sort of candy to them.


I searched the Web trying to find information on this root eating behavior but could find nothing. So I asked whitetail biologist Matt Knox at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and he was able to give me a positive ID as being slippery elm roots. A big thanks to Matt!





My flickr friend Ronnie, aka Adobe one Kenobi (the talented digital painting artist) has handed over the administrative reigns to me for the Oh, Deer! group that he started. Please visit the group if you get a chance and join if you are a Deer photographer!


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Taken on November 25, 2011