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Three Legged Deer

Updated on November 24, 2016

Deer can be amazingly tough critters. Here are some examples of three legged deer spotted in the wild. The same deer will sometimes be seen over multiple years and three legged does often have fawns, demonstrating their ability to survive long term with this disability.

Deer lose their legs in accidents such as being tangled in wire, collision with a car, or a close call with a predator. These plucky survivors often become favorites of deer watchers and photographers. To me, these deer are symbols of tenacity and a will to live through adversity, and to triumph.


Here are a collection of examples. For copyright reasons you need to go to the original sites to see pictures of these plucky three legged deer.




United States

In Captivity

Three legged deer are also kept in parks and as pets. Such as Rudy in Ohio who had the misfortune to be stepped on by an elk when he was just a small fawn.


Some captive deer who have lost a leg are provided with a replacement prosthetic.

  • Franklin, a fawn hit by a tractor, lost one leg and his other legs were also damaged, and was given a prosthetic leg.

Why Does?

Many of the examples of surviving wild three-legged deer are does rather than stags. I can't think of any obvious reason for females either experiences more injuries or being more able to survive them.


Three legged deer appear in literature as symbols of the ability of those suffering from a disadvantage to still thrive.

Eight years observing a three-legged doe inspired a photographer's book "My Mother Can do Anything" (2011) where a fawn talks about his life with his three-legged mama.

"The Year of the Three Legged Deer" (2003) is a historical story of the children of a white settler and native American, where a three-legged fawn they raise is a symbol of virtue and resilience.


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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Love this! How remarkably resilient these creatures are!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This is very interesting but too short! It would be so nice to learn more, maybe about some of the deer you mention in your bullet points. Its like a tease reading such an interesting article that ends to soon.

      Voted up.