Britain’s deer populations are expanding, yet most of us see them rarely as they are secretive woodland dwellers. During the autumn deer rut, they are much more noticeable due to their need to mate. Here’s our guide to the six deer species found in the Br
The UK’s largest land mammal, with stags up to 140cm at the shoulder. Its high, branched antlers gain more tines with age and its reddish-brown summer coat turns grey in winter. The red deer prefers woodland in England and southern Scotland but has adapted to living on open moors.
Up to 65cm at the shoulder, the roe is small and elegant with a reddish summer coat that turns grey-brown in winter. It has relatively short, rough antlers. It is widespread in forests across England and Scotland with increasing populations in Wales. May be seen feeding in open fields.
Up to 95cm at the shoulder, the sika is reddish-brown with spots in summer, but the spots recede in winter. Its antlers are similar to red deer but smaller. Introduced from the Far East in the 19th century, small populations are now found in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Small, up to 55cm at the shoulder, this deer has fang-like tusks instead of antlers. The buck emits a distinctive whistle during the rut. Originally from China but escapees from parks have fostered wild populations in eastern England. It prefers reedbeds, river shores and fenland.
Up to 95cm at the shoulder, the fallow is our only deer with palmate/platelike antlers. It has a distinctive spotted coat and white rump outlined with a black horseshoe. Brought to Britain in Roman times, it is now widespread in England and Wales; patchy in Scotland.
Our smallest deer, just 50cm at the shoulder, the muntjac is russet in summer, grey-brown in winter with single antlers. Unlike other deer, it breeds all year round. Introduced from China in the 20th century and now widespread in southern England, it emits an eerie barking call.