Muntjac are the smallest deer in the UK growing to only around 50 cm at the shoulder. They are a non-native species and were introduced from china in the 19th century. Only the adult males have antlers, which are single pronged and grow to around 4 inches long. They are also equipped with large canine teeth and use these to fight for territories. Unlike some other types of deer, muntjac can breed all year round and sometimes a female will give birth twice in the same year. .
Chinese water deer are slightly larger than muntjacs and grow to about 55 centimetres at the shoulder. As their name suggests they arent native to the UK but have been introduced throughout southern England since the 1930s. In their native range chines water deer have suffered a drastic decline over the past century and it is now thought that more than 10 percent of their global population can be found in the UK. Chinese water deer have teddy bear like faces and do not have antlers. The males have large tusks that protrude over their bottom lips. These can be moved so they point forwards for fighting but also held backwards to allow the deer to feed freely. This species is quite common throughout Bedfordshire, cambridgeshire and Norfolk and are often found in wetland areas, especially in and around reedbeds. They don’t have any lighter markings on their rumps and their tails are short and insignificant.
Roe deer are one of two deer species that are truly native to the UK and have been recorded here for at least the last 8000 years. They are bigger than the two previous species, and grow to more than 70cm at the shoulder. Males like this one grow small antlers every year. They have a maximum of three prongs each and are used during July and august, when the males fight each other for territories and females. This is when mating takes place but the fertilised egg doesn’t actually start to develop until January. This is known as delayed implantation and helps to ensure that the kids are born when it is warm and there is lots of food available. Some of their most noticeable features are there black noses, with a white band above and below. They also have very large ears compared to their heads.
Sika deer are the third largest species of deer in the UK and can grow to 95 cm at the shoulder. They were introduced in the early 19th century and are common across a lot of Scotland but only found in patches of England, wales and Northern Ireland. Sika deer have a variety of coat colours and can range from sandy brown and red with lighter spots to dark grey and even black. Alongside this range of colours, this species also produces a range of noises, including squeaks, whistles, screams and barks. Only the sika stags grow antlers and on a fully mature individual, these will have a up to four prongs each. Both sexes live separately throughout the year, only coming together to mate in the autumn when the stags move into the hind’s home range.
Fallow deer were bought to Britain by the Romans those that live here in the wild today were introduced hundreds of years later around 1100AD. These deer would have been kept in deer parks but when these fell out of fashion, the deer managed to escape and colonise the countryside. Although they are not a native, they are considered naturalised and can be found across England, wales, parts of Scotland and they are the most widespread deer species in Ireland. Fallow deer grow to almost 95cm tall at the shoulder and the stags have large flattened antlers. They can be a wide range of colours including white, tan, sandy brown and fully black. They often have spots down their sides and also have the longest tail of all the UKs deer. This tail is dark and with their white rump, creates an upside down horseshoe shape.
Red deer are the UKs largest deer species and are in fact the largest terrestrial mammal that lives here. They are a native species and can grow to more than 130cm tall at the shoulder. The size of red deer herds usually depends on their habitats, those that live in woodlands are more likely to be in small groups or even solitary, whereas those in the highlands and open moorlands are more likely to live in large herds. Where they live in herds, the mature stags and the hinds live in separate groups throughout the year and only come together in the autumn to rut. During this time the stags get very aggressive and will use their large antlers to fight one-another for the right to mate. Only the stags grow antlers, and these are shed and regrown every year. These antlers can grow at more than 2 and a half centimetres per day and can measure more than a meter in length.
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