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deer Red Deer

Identify It >   Mammal Section >   Deer Section >   Red Deer >


Scientific name:  Cervus elaphus

Size:  The male is about 140cm at the shoulder, and the female is around 120cm. Adult males can weigh up to 220kg

Distribution:  Wild populations can be found in the Scottish Highlands, North Devon, the Lake District, the Quantock Hills, the New Forest, East Anglia, the Lake District, the Peak District and The Brecon Beacons (Wales).  There are also many herds in parks throughout the UK.  Those in the Lake District are native and the rest originate from park or deer farm escapees

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Dense woods and open moorlands

Food:  Grass and low growing vegetation, as well as leaves on trees.  This can be noticed on the trees in the area which have a perfectly flat bottom to their branches, about two metres from the ground, which is the maximum height the deer can reach

Special features:  Although there are six species of deer living in Britain, only the red deer and the roe deer are considered 'native'.  The red deer is our largest native land animal.  Mature stags have branching antlers which are shed each year (at the end of winter) and grow back larger the following year.  The fur is browninsh in the summer and more grey in winter.  The males grow a 'mane' of slightly thicker fur around the neck each autumn.


Male red deer can be dangerous during the rutting season (September to November).  Avoid getting too close to them, and definitely don't get between them and the females.  If you are walking your dog near them keep it under close control or on a lead.

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