Capreolus capreolus, kid, hind, stag.
These beautiful, delicate looking and agile creatures are part of our countryside. If you are lucky enough to see them in the wild, it will probably only be a fleeting glance. They are sensitive and very fearful of humans. Roe deer became extinct in most of England during the 18th century after being hunted, but they were re-introduced in the 19th century.
If you spot a fawn, don't let its fragile looks fool you. They are very strong creatures and survive extremely well in the wild. Fawns can walk within hours of birth but cannot follow their mother for great distances. When Mum grazes to produce the milk she will need to feed her fawn, she will leave it alone to wait for her. The fawns are programmed to stay perfectly still whilst mum is away.
In these early stages when the fawns are left, many are prey to foxes and dogs. The mother is often near but will not return if humans are present and will leave her fawn for good rather than risk coming in contact with humans.
Please do not touch a fawn. Tie a piece of cloth to a branch nearby and make a note of where the fawn is and contact us or your nearest wildlife rescue for advice.
If the fawn is injured contact us or a vet and always keep the fawn warm and very protected with its face covered at all times.
Roe deer give birth between May and June.
They can reach 10-12 years old in the wild, although over 90% will die in the first year of life.
They are between 95-135 cm in length, their height (at shoulder) is about 63-67 cm and they weigh between 18-29 kg.
These small deer have a white to buff patch on their rump, a black nose and 'moustache' and a white chin. Their coat varies from sandy to reddish-brown in the summer, to grey/ brown or even black in winter. They molt in the spring, giving the coat a moth-eaten appearance. The antlers, which have no more than three points and are less than 25cm in length, grow in winter and are shed in the autumn.
Roe deer are found throughout Europe, but they are absent from Ireland and large parts of England and Wales. They live in woodland, preferably with open patches of ground and with access to the edges of fields.
Roe deer feed on brambles, roses, herbs, grasses and the leaves of young broad-leaved trees and bushes - but they are very particular - choosing only the most nutritious items.
Both male and female roe deer are solitary and are highly territorial, with clearly defined boundaries. They scent mark and these scents give information about the sex, age, and dominance of the individual. Occasionally you will see a small group of up to five but this is rare and usually only when fawns are with a mother.
Roe deer have a very good sense of smell and hearing, and their vision is acutely aware of moving objects. When alarmed, roe deer will bark.
Roe deer have a gestation period of up to about 294 days, including a period of delayed implantation (where the fertilised egg does not attach itself to the wall of the uterus) of up to 150 days.
They mate in July/August with the fawn being born in the spring. The fawns are brown in colour with rows of white spots on its back and flanks. They are weaned after 6-10 weeks.
Roe deer are not an endangered species, despite the fact that up to 90% of fawns die during their first year.