Why do Baby Deer Have Spots? (And for How Long)

Baby deer are vulnerable to predatory attacks as they cannot move around in the first few weeks of their lives. The spots on their body help them to better blend in with nature and hence provide them with a security blanket against predatory attacks.

The first few weeks are a very crucial period in a baby deer’s life.Their chances of becoming an adult increase many folds once they have gone through these initial few weeks unharmed.

Evolutionarily, fawns with spots managed to survivemore than fawns without spots. This gene became dominant, and now, most fawns are born with spots.

Why do Baby Deer Have Spots

What Kind of Deer have Spots?

In the majority of deer species, only baby deer or fawns have spots on their body. Both male and female babies contain spots on their bodies.

These spots start to fade once they start to get a few months old and obtain greater abilities to deflect predatory intrusions.

Unfortunately,fawns cannot move around in the first few weeks of their life. So, when they detect predator movement around them, they lie perfectly still to avoid detection. The spots on their body fur allow them to blend in easily with the forest surroundings and avoids them from getting detected easily.

There are some exceptions to this though. There are some deer species like Fallow, Chital, and Sika that retain the white spots on their body throughout their life.

But in all other deer species, the deer lose the white spots when get old.

What do Spots on a Fawn Mean?

Spots on the fawn’s body are nature’s way of giving these newborn babies a barrier of protection. Hence the spots on the fawn’s body help them camouflage better with the forest environment.

More than the color, the pattern of these spots on the baby deer’s body is of more importance.

This is because the majority of the animal species, particularly those living out in the wild don’t have a great color vision, especially when compared to humans.

The pattern of the white spots helps them to hide among the tall grass and bushes and prevents them from easily getting spotted from a distance.

They easily get camouflaged with the forest environment as the spots mimic sunlight filtering through the canopy. The sun enters deep into the forest, through the branches and leaves of tall trees, and creates a pattern of darker and lighter zones on the forest ground, much like spots on a fawn.

Furthermore, as the majority of the mammalian predators don’t have a sound color vision, the baby deer easily remain camouflaged in the bushes and grasses as that vegetation, as well as the fawn body-color, will be seen as a greyish color by those animals.

Hence, this is how nature has helped these baby deer to survive in the most sensitive time of their life when they are incapable of moving around during the first few weeks of their life.

These spots even more important because mother deer remain away from their babies during the day to avoid getting the attention of predators and luring them back to their babies.

So they are often on their own so such camouflaging abilities are sometimes the only thing that saves them from death.

Are Baby Deer Born with Spots?

Baby deer are born with white spots on their body which allows them to camouflage beautifully with nature and prevents them from getting detected easily.

Their mother generally hides the young babies in deep bushes, high grasslands, or under vegetation in the woods.

The white spots on their reddish-brown body help them to easily blend in with the surroundings and don’t make them stand out.

Moreover, they don’t bear any kind of scent during this phase of their life which further helps them in avoiding detection.

Along with this, they have got a strong sense to detect the presence of predators nearby, after which they can lower their heartbeat. This further helps them to hide and be perfectly still.

How Long do Spots Stay on Fawn?

The white spots of most deer species stay for about 3 to 4 months on the body of the fawns. They slowly start fading around month 3.

This is because at this period they start moving around freely and somewhat obtain the ability to deal with predatory dangers.

There are some deer varieties like Chital, Sika, etc that retain the white spots throughout their life. But for the majority of the deer species, the spots vanish as they reach adulthood.

Why do Baby Deer Lose Their Spots?

Baby deer lose their spots when they gain the age where they can move around of their own will. Newly born deer babies are incapable of moving around and it takes them many weeks to start moving. This makes them highly vulnerable to predatory attacks.

For this reason, nature has made deer evolve in a way because of which the fawns are born with white spots on their body and are completely devoid of any kind of scent.

This helps them from getting easily detected by other predatory animals.

Once they survive the preliminary few weeks in this world, they become capable of moving around on their own and hence dont require the extra layer of safety, the white spots start to disappear from their body.


Do Male Fawns or Female Fawns have Spots?

Both male and female fawns have white spots on their body when they are very young. For the majority of the deer species, as they reach the age of 12 to 16 weeks, they start losing the white spots on their body.

Do Whitetail Deer have Spots?

Young whitetail deer have white spots present over their reddish-brown body in infrequent patterns.The majority of whitetail deerthat have such spots on their body will be less than 12 weeks old. After that period, they will start losing those white spots on their body.


In the initial few weeks when the deer are not strong enough and are still in the developing phase, they get very vulnerable to predatory attacks. Baby deer are born without any scent of their own as having any kind of a strong scent is a kind of a liability that may help the predators locate them easily.

Hence, mother deer often leave them alone on their especially in the daytime to avoid luring predators onto them and to avoid imparting their smell onto them. Once they start moving around swiftly on their own, after a few months of being born, they start shedding their old body fur and a new one devoid of any white spot replaces that.

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