Posts Tagged ‘fallow deer’

The Story of Fallow Deer

This is a fascinating story of how humans spread the fallow deer from the Eastern Mediterranean through Western Europe. It’s not a native species to Britain, but this is the story of the researchers who are looking into how it was introduced (and it was introduced to Britain at least twice).


Check out The Fallow Deer Project for more information.



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Killing a wounded deer that will likely die a horrible death during the winter makes one a “cruel bastard.”

But it’s okay if you let your dogs maim the deer– which means the keepers– “the cruel bastards”– have to kill the ones the dogs wounded.

Makes perfect sense to me!

This problem could be solved if the policy was that all dogs on the property were required to either be on a leash or under control.

NB:  Stags are male red deer. Fallow deer and roe deer males are called bucks. This animal rights person doesn’t even know the proper nomenclature.

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The deer

These are fallow deer.

Poland has three native species of deer: the elk (moose), the red deer, and the roe deer.

It also has two introduced species the Sika deer (a close relative of the red deer) and the fallow deer. Both of these species have white spots on their backs during the summer months, although fallow deer come in several different color varieties, and this particular color phase lacks the white spots.

The normal coloration for most fallow deer  something like this:

photo by Rob Bendall

My guess is you have seen these deer at petting zoos. They are one of the easiest deer to raise in captivity, and they can be docile enough for children to feed and pet.

Roe deer look like this:

Photo by Nickshanks

The head shape of the roe deer is very different from that of the fallow deer. The fallow deer have head more like a cow, while the roe resemble very small versions of North American white-tails and mule deer. Their most distinctive features are their high-set ears  and relatively vertical antlers.

Fallow deer did live in Central and Northern Europe, but they became extinct in that region during the Holocene. They continued to exist in the Mediterranean, and the Romans reintroduced them to their former northern range.

The male fallow deer develop very interesting antlers:

Photo by B. Navez.

The species also has a distinctive Adam’s apple, which you can see very clearly in that photo.

Now, I did mention that Sika deer inhabit Poland, but those deer were not Sika deer.  Sika deer have more elongated heads.

Photo by Wildfeuer

The head shape is the main diagnostic feature that these deer are Fallow deer, even though they don’t look like the fallows we typically see at zoos and game parks.

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