BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild December -

In east­ern Eng­land, the rut­ting sea­son of this small, non-native deer is now in full swing. But, with­out antlers to lock to­gether, how do ri­val males de­ter­mine mat­ing rights? The teddy-bear­faced bucks do bat­tle with their sharp, 6cm-long tusks. It’s not un­com­mon to see scarred an­i­mals in win­ter, though most clashes stop short of blood­shed; in­stead, ad­ver­saries size each other up by walk­ing in par­al­lel un­til one buck backs down. The species is in de­cline in its Asian home­land, yet thought to be in­creas­ing here, In fact, East Anglia and Bed­ford­shire holds around a tenth of the world’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

TOP TIP Deer for­age in the open in win­ter so are eas­ier to see. Try RSPB Strump­shaw Fen.

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