Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on FlickrFollow us on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on Instagram

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Do Dolphins Have Hair?

Our mammal researchers answer this and other questions on our Mammalogy FAQs page.
Learn more >

First Fridays: Previous Seasons

Over the past decade, First Fridays has introduced adult audiences to a new kind of museum experience.

Explore past First Fridays and see which of your favorite scientists and musicians were here at NHM!


Black-tailed deer

Odocoileus hemionus columbianus (Richardson, 1829)

Black-tailed deer diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 California redwoods

The black-tailed deer is one of nine subspecies of the mule deer. It was first recorded by the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06.

Black-tailed deer live in the temperate coniferous forests along the Pacific coast.  These forests are characterized by cool temperatures and lots of rain, but an overall mild climate.  Black-tailed deer do not therefore migrate in response to seasonal changes, unlike some of the other mule deer subspecies.  Instead, black-tailed deer often spend their entire life in the same general area.

Black-tailed deer can be distinguished from mule deer by their larger tail, the back of which is completely covered with black or dark brown hairs.  Mule deer have smaller tails in which only the tip is covered with black hairs.  Black-tailed deer are generally smaller than mule deer.

Biological Information

Range map for the black-tailed deer


Central California to British Columbia


Mixed habitat with forest cover


Mostly common and widespread in suitable habitats


New plant growth in spring, woody browse at other times; acorns favored when available

Further information about mule deer may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for mule deer.