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Deer on Blacka Moor by Mark Smith

Red Deer

Cervus Elaphus

Our largest deer, males have large, branching antlers, increasing in size as they get older.

© Deer on Blacka Moor by Mark Smith

During the autumnal breeding season, known as the ‘rut’, males bellow to proclaim their territory and will fight over the females, sometimes injuring each other with their sharp antlers. Red Deer live on moorland and mountainsides, as well as grasslands near to woodland. They can be seen in deer parks throughout the country.

How to Identify

Red Deer are dark russet-brown in colour, with a paler buff rump patch and a pale tail. Look out for herds of large, sturdy deer with branching antlers.

Where to Find

Common in Scotland. Also found in the Lake District, Exmoor, the New Forest and Thetford Forest.

How People can Help

Cross-breeding with Sika Deer is thought to pose a threat to our native Red Deer. But Red Deer in excessive numbers can cause damage to natural vegetation and prevent woodland regeneration by eating young shoots and leaves from newly-coppiced or growing trees. The Wildlife Trusts are working hard to restore our native woodlands; why not join us and have a go at volunteering? You’ll make new friends, learn new skills and help wildlife along the way.

Did You Know?

A male Red Deer is called a ‘Stag’, a female is called a ‘Hind’. The most characteristic feature of a male is the impressive antlers which can measure up to one metre in breadth and weigh as much as 15kg. Within a few weeks of shedding old antlers, new ones will start to grow covered in a soft skin called ‘velvet’, which nourishes the antlers with blood vessels. Antler-growing is an energy-intensive activity and stags often lose weight during this process.

Key Facts

  • Length: 1.7-2.6m
  • Height: 1.2m at the shoulder
  • Weight: 100-340kg
  • Average lifespan: 16-18 years


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