British Wildlife Centre Species Collection 

 Fallow Deer - Dama dama

Fallow deer were probably first brought to England by the Romans, but the main introduction was by the Normans in the eleventh century for hunting purposes. It is a docile, herding deer that thrives in parklands, making it ideal for semi-domestication.

Their current patchy distribution reflects the distribution of ancient deer parks and hunting forests. Feral deer (escapees from parks) are now common in southern England. Increasing in number and slowly in distribution, they are now found throughout much of England and parts of Wales, and locally in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Herds may number a hundred if conditions are right.

There are now more deer in the South East today than there were 500 years ago in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Fallow deer have palmate antlers - a wider and flatter spread with less distinct tines than the red deer.

Origin: Introduced.

Size: Body size the same as a ewe (female sheep) but with longer and thinner legs.

Description: Males, 'bucks', have flattened, palmate antlers. Females, 'does', do not. Bright chestnut coat with spots in summer, drab grey-brown in winter.

Habitat: Live in semi-domesticated state in many parks and forests throughout UK.

Young: 'Fawns'; born in May or June after 8 months gestation and weigh about 4.5 kg. They are dappled to match their background and lie hidden in the undergrowth for the first two weeks of life, after which they are able to follow their mother.

Diet: Purely vegetarian: grass, young shoots, leaves, bark, heather, sweet chestnuts, acorns and cereals etc.

Population: Pre-breeding season estimated to be 128,000.

British distribution

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