BRI­TISH DEER

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

Countryfile Magazine - - Month In The Country -

RED

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.

ROE

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.

SIKA

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.

CHI­NESE WA­TER

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.

FAL­LOW

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.

MUNTJAC

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.

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