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Deer Fibromas (Warts)

Growths found on the skin of white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family are called fibromas, or "deer warts". These ugly looking lumps are caused by a virus and can be found on all areas of the body, the most common locations being the head, neck, and forelegs.

These hairless tumors may be single or multiple, with a heavily infected deer having 25 or more. Fibromas also can appear in large clumps. Fibromas usually are black or gray in color and vary from pea-sized up to 8-plus inches in diameter. The surface of the fibromas is most often smooth and hairless, but can be wrinkled and "warty" in appearance.

Fibromas involve only the skin and have no direct effect on the general health of deer. However, there may be a secondary effect if the growths are particularly large and located where they cause difficulties as in seeing, eating and running. The condition is not known to infect humans. Its main significance is the concern it causes hunters and wildlife observers. While unappealing, the presence of fibromas does not affect the edibility of the meat, as fibromas are located on the surface of the skin.

Deer with multiple fibromas
Deer with multiple fibromas

White-tailed Deer in New Jersey

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 22, 2013