British Wildlife Centre Species Collection 

 Red Deer - Cervus elaphus

Red deer are Britain's largest native land mammal and, together with the roe deer, are our only native deer species. All other deer species have been introduced.

In all deer species (except the reindeer) only the male has antlers. Antlers are shed each Spring and immediately a new set starts to grow, taking 16 weeks to reach full size in August. They are made of a type of dense and very solid bone and whilst growing are covered with a hairy skin called velvet which is shed when the antlers have reached their full size for that year.

The stag uses his antlers to fight other males during the mating season, known as the rut, which lasts for three weeks in October. You can see past years antlers from our stag in the reception area.



Origin: Native.

Size: Male (stag): Head /body length 210 cm, height at shoulder 120 cm. Female (hind): height at shoulder
107 cm.

Description: Male grows branching antlers and has long neck hair in the winter coat. Female smaller, more lightly built, without antlers. A stag reaches full size in 6 - 7 years.

Habitat: Essentially a forest animal, but chiefly found in UK on the moorlands of Scotland and Devon.

Young: Gestation period is 9 months. A single calf is born in May or June and lies hidden in the undergrowth, well camouflaged, during the day for a week or so, when it will join the herd.

Diet: Grass, young heather shoots, moss, young leaves, shoots of trees, and in the winter they will strip bark from trees.

Population: Pre-breeding season estimated to be 316,000.

British distribution

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