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Fallow Deer

Dama dama

  1. Not Evaluated
  2. Data Deficient
  3. Least Concern
  4. Near Threatened
  5. Vulnerable
  6. Endangered
  7. Critically Endangered
  8. Extinct in the Wild
  9. Extinct

About Us

Our herd of fallow deer can be found in the train paddock which is the last paddock on the road safari. If you head to the Bison Halt train stop in the leisure area you will be able to jump on the Great Woburn Railway which will pull into a platform allowing you to get close to our Fallow deer.

Distribution
Distributed throughout much of England and Wales and can also be found in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Habitat
Broadleaved woodland with thick low-level vegetation.
Height
73 to 91 cm at the shoulder
Weight
Males 46- 94 kg, females 35- 56 kg
Lifespan
Between 12- 16 Years

Social Behaviour

For most of the year bucks and does generally remain in separate single-sex herds. They are generally not territorial but have a home range and within this will be areas that are used more frequently than others and associated paths will become apparent.

Breeding Behavior

The breeding season, or rut occurs between October and December and males will hold rutting stands to defend groups of females. Rutting behaviour involves displaying, groaning contests and parallel walks escalating to physical contests in which the males lock antlers and push each other. After an 8 month gestation period the female will give birth to one fawn during June or July in a private hiding place. After the fawn is born it will remain hidden in bushes and undergrowth to stay undetected by predators until its mother returns every four hours to feed it. By the age of four months the fawn will join the herd until it is weaned at the age of 7- 9 months.

Diet

The Fallow deer’s diet consists of a range of vegetation and ground plants such as grass and heather. Fresh shoots of holly and bramble bushes are also eaten along with low hanging shoots of trees such as beech and oak. During the winter months when food is scarce they will also feed on acorns, fallen nuts and fungi.

Physical Features

Fallow deer males are the only species in Britain with impressive palmate antlers. These become full sized after the deer are three to four years of age and can reach up to 70cm in length. A distinguishing feature of the fallow deer is the tail area which shows a black border surrounding a very pale, almost white area of rump hair. The black often extends along the length of the tail. Fallow deer have four main variations of coat:

Common –  Tan with white spotting on flanks and white rump patch outlined with black horseshoe shaped border. Their coat will fade to a general grey colour during the winter.

Menil –  A paler colouration with white spots all year-round and a caramel horseshoe shape on their rump.       

Melanistic – Black, almost entirely black or chocolate coloured.

White – A white to pale sandy-colour turning increasingly white with age.

 

Threats

 

There are no major threats to this species in Europe.

 

Fun Facts

Fallow deer prefer to inhabit woodland with a well-established layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy of a forest where they can shelter away from strong winds or driving rain!