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deer Roe Deer

Identify It >   Mammal Section >   Deer Section >   Roe Deer >

Scientific name:  Capreolus capreolus

Size:  Approx 75cm at the shoulder

Distribution:  Found in many parts of England and Scotland. Absent from Northern Ireland.  Roe deer are fairly widespread in Wales.  They have reached as far north west as Bangor and S.W. as far as the Cardigan area

Months seen:  All year round

Life Span:  Up to 10 years

Habitat:  Woodland and any areas with plenty of cover

Food:  Mainly tree leaves and grass.  Roe deer usually feed at dawn and dusk

Special features:  The summer coat of the Roe Deer is smooth and red-brown in colour.  The winter coat is longer and greyish in colour, as in the photo above.

The short tail is white and surrounded by a small white coloured rump.  When excited or alarmed this patch expands into a large white disc.  The chin is white and there is a white mark on each side of the nose.  The ears are larger than the other deer species and are grey-white inside.  Male Roe Deer grow short (up to 25cm) antlers which have up to four points.

Roe deer are monogamous, and are normally found in small family groups rather than in herds.  The roe deer rutting season usually runs from mid-July to mid-August.  The males chase the females for a long time before mating occurs.  Mating usually occurs in August but the fertilised egg does not start to develop until late December or early January because of delayed implantation.  Roe deer are the only hoofed animals to have this ability.

The Roe deer fawns are born in May and June. The fawns (known as 'kids') have white spotted coats for the first six weeks of life.

Only the Roe and the Red deer are native to the UK.

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