Scientific name: Dama dama
There are six species of deer currently living wild in Britain. These are Red deer (Cervus elaphus), Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Fallow deer (Dama dama), Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), Sika (Cervus nippon) and Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis).
Fallow Deer are a naturalised species in the United Kingdom having originated
in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Many references put their introduction
down to the Normans in the 11th century where they were used to stock
the Royal Forests for hunting purposes. However recent finds at Fishbourne
Roman Palace show that Fallow Deer were introduced into southern England
in the 1st century AD by the Romans. Whether some of these escaped to
form a feral colony, or whether they died out and were reintroduced by
the Normans is not known. Nowadays there is a free living population throughout
the United Kingdom, although more widespread in England and Wales than
in Scotland. Their preferred habitat is mixed woodland and open grassland
where they roam in herds of up to 150. Larger than Roe Deer but smaller
than Red Deer, the stags have large multi-point antlers which they use
during the rut to fight each other for females, injuries are however rare.
Although there are widespread colour variations, most have tan coats with
white spots on the flanks and a white rump patch outlined with a black
border. The white spots fade, or may even disappear, in winter.