The New Forest Five

This medium-sized deer has palmate antlers. Coats vary in colour, from black and caramel to the more common tawny and white-spotted coat. Does and young have short barks, while bucks emit a deep groan, especially in mating season. Not a truly native species, as they are thought to have been introduced by the Normans in the 10th century.

Red deer migrated to Britain from Europe 11,000 years ago, making them one of two of the country’s truly indigenous species. Since their arrival, populations have risen and fallen with the loss and creation of suitable habitat. One of the UK’s most adaptable mammals, red deer are currently expanding in both range and numbers – while preferring woodland and forest habitats in England and southern Scotland, their opportunism has led to their inhabitation of open moor and hills too.

This native British deer is rusty brown in the summer months, turning grey, pale brown or sometimes black in winter. The small antlers with three prongs on males are known as tines. Roe deer are easily startled – their rumps bounding through forests and crops are a familiar sight to walkers and cyclists. They became extinct in England in the 1800s due to forest clearance and over-hunting, though the species remained in parts of Scotland. These days, they are widespread and abundant.

Also known as Japanese deer, this medium-sized species arrived on Brownsea Island in Dorset in 1860. Escapees quickly spread through Britain, forming strongholds in much of Scotland. Like fallow deer, their coats vary from pale to dark, and they often have white rumps.

This small, hunched deer was brought over from China in the early 20th century, spreading from Bedfordshire to populate large swathes of England. Unlike other deer species, muntjac have little impact on agricultural and timber crops. They breed all year round and are able to have kids when they are seven months old.

Our thanks to the Countryfile Magazine for this content :

What Are They Called?

Fallow Buck Doe Fawn
Red Stag Hind Calf
Roe Buck Doe Kid
Sika Stag Hind Calf
Muntjac Buck Doe Fawn

What Do They Eat?

Grasses contribute around 60% of the diet, also herbs and boradleaf browse of young trees. They will take acorns, chestnut, beech mast and fruits in Autumn. If grazing limited, they will take bramble and conifer.

Grasses, sedges and rushes comprise the bulk of the summer diet, with dwarf-shrubs such as heather and blueberry being more important in winter. Young trees are also browsed.

Their diet is varied and includes buds and leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs, bramble, rose, ivy, herbs, conifers, ferns, heather and grasses.

Sika feed on browse, both from coniferous and deciduous species, but especially on grasses and heather in summer. Browse is more important in winter.

They feed on shoots of shrubs, woodland herbs and garden plants, but bramble and raspberry are their most important foods.

Our thanks to The Mammal Society for this content :

Vital Statistics?

Fallow Buck 84 - 94cm 46 - 94kg 8 - 10years
Fallo Doe 73 - 91cm 35 - 56kg 8 - 10years
Red Stag 107 - 137cm 90 - 190kg 16 - 18years
Red Hind 107 - 122cm 63 - 120kg 16 - 18years
Roe 60 - 75cm 10 -30kg 5 - 7years
Sika Stag 70 - 95cm 40 70kg 15 - 16years
Sika Hind 50 - 90cm 30 - 45kg 15 - 16years
Muntjac 45 - 52cm 14 - 18kg 16 - 19years

British Deer Society

Visit the British Deer Society Website

British Mammal Society

Visit the British Mammal Society Website