Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Roe Deer

Roe Deer

Scientfic name: Capreolus capreolus

The Roe Deer is a relatively small deer, with a body length of 95 to 135 cm, a shoulder height of 65 to 75 cm, and a weight of 15 to 30 kg. It has rather short, erect antlers and a reddish body with a grey face. Its hide is golden red in summer, darkening to brown or even black in winter, with lighter undersides and a white rump patch; the tail is very short and barely visible. Only the males have antlers. The first and second set of antlers are unbranched and short ( 5 to 12 cm), while older bucks in good conditions develop antlers up to 20 to 25 cm long with two or three, rarely even four, points. Unlike most cervids, roe deer begin regrowing antlers almost immediately after they are shed.

The Roe Deer is primarily crepuscular, or primarily active during the twilight, very quick and graceful, lives in woods although it may venture into grasslands and sparse forests. It feeds mainly on grass, leaves, berries and young shoots.

When alarmed, the Roe Deer will bark a sound much like a dog and flash out its white rump patch. Rump patches differ between the sexes, with the white rump patches heart-shaped on females and kidney-shaped on males. Males may also bark, make a low grunting noise or make a high pitched wolf-like whine when attracting mates during the breeding season, often luring multiple does into their territory. The Roe Deer spends most of its life alone, preferring to live solitary except when mating during the breeding season.

Information and photograph courtesy of