Fallow Deer

Dama dama

The Fallow Deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. This common species is native to western Eurasia, but has been introduced widely elsewhere. It often includes the rarer Persian Fallow Deer as a subspecies , while others treat it as an entirely different species .

The male is known as a ''buck'', the female is a ''doe'', and the young a ''fawn''. Adult bucks are 140–160 cm long and 85–95 cm shoulder height, and 70-100 kg in weight; does are 130–150 cm long and 75–85 cm shoulder height, and 40-50 kg in weight. Fawns are born in spring at about 30 cm and weigh around 4.5 kg. The life span is around 12–16 years.

The species has great variations in the colour of their coats, with four main variants, "common", "menil", "melanistic" and "white" - a genuine colour variety, not albinistic. The white is the lightest colored, almost white; common and menil are darker, and melanistic is very dark, sometimes even black .

Common: Chestnut coat with white mottles that are most pronounced in summer with a much darker, unspotted coat in the winter. Light-colored area around the tail, edged with black. Tail is light with a black stripe.
Menil: Spots more distinct than common in summer and no black around the rump patch or on the tail. In winter, spots still clear on a darker brown coat.
Menalistic/Black: All year black shading to greyish-brown. No light-colored tail patch or spots.
White : Fawns cream-colored, adults become pure white, especially in winter. Dark eyes and nose, no spots.

Most herds consist of the common coat variation, yet it is not rare to see animals of the menil coat variation. The Melanistic variation is rarer and white very much rarer still.

Only bucks have antlers, which are broad and shovel-shaped from 3 years. In the first two years the antler is a single spike. They are grazing animals; their preferred habitat is mixed woodland and open grassland. During the rut bucks will spread out and females move between them, at this time of year fallow deer are relatively ungrouped compared to the rest of the year when they try to stay together in groups of up to 150.

Agile and fast in case of danger, fallow deer can run up to a maximum speed of 28 mph over short distances . Fallow deer can also make jumps up to 1.75 metres high and up to 5 metres in length.