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Species Spied: Fallow deer

Overview

Species: Fallow deer

Fallow deer buck camera trapScientific Name: Dama dama

Family: Cervidae (deer)

Fallow deer are actually an introduced species in the UK; the Normans are responsible for bringing them over from mainland Europe about 900 years ago.

You may have seen fallow deer in parks with spotted pale coats - they are selectively bred for this patterning. However, in the wild they tend to revert to darker coats.

Click on the tabs above to find out more and see NatureSpy photos and videos of this species.

Posts with fallow deer...

Identification & behaviour

How to identify

Fallow deer have a variety of coat colours from black to brown and even white. They have a black stripe running down their back and often have white spots in summer. You can see a close up of both fallow deer and roe deer here.

The best way to distinguish between deer species is by their rump and tail. The fallow deer has a heart shaped white rump patch with a black, horseshoe shaped, border and a black stripe down the tail. Its tail is also longer than other species and it is usually twitching.

Adult males have large antlers; one buck gave one of our camera traps a close up view.

Behaviours you may see

Fallow deer are usually seen in herds, which are single sex groups, for most of the year.

The 'rut' (breeding season) occurs between October and November. This involves males doing a lot of groaning, walking displays and even fighting. Females usually give birth to one calf in the summer. Watch the special moment a female cleans its new born calf here.

Camera trap tips

Where to find fallow deer

Fallow deer are found throughout England, Wales and Ireland but only smaller populations are found in Scotland.

You are most likely to see them in woodlands with dense undergrowth but you may see them in marshes and meadows. They mainly eat grasses but other vegetation is also important in their diet.

Settings & timers

Fallow deer are active at all times of day but you are unlikely to see them during the day unless you are in a quiet and undisturbed area. You should therefore set your camera trap to record at all times but make sure it is on at night.

Following trails...

Fallow deer footprints (spoor) are similar to other deer species but are particularly large (4cm wide, 6cm long). They also look very similar to sheep and goat footprints.

Their droppings are similar to other deer species. The best way to identify a species of deer is visually, so set up your camera trap and wait and see.

Videos

Fallow deer camera trap videos

References and more information:

Fallow Deer – The Mammal Society