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A great walk and an interesting antler


Yesterday, me and my Dad went on a walk to explore a red deer wood near our house. It was a nice day and a really good walk. I'm getting much better at spotting deer, and learning to walk quietly so we can watch the deer without frightening them. We found two red deer skulls,both of which were very old, and one of which was smashed so we didn't bring them back. We also saw six red deer and a fox, but the best bit was finding this antler.

This is a very unusual antler. It is unusual because it seems to have three branches at the bottom. We haven't seen any other antlers shaped like this. Normally, deer antlers have two branches at the bottom. Here's the new antler next to an old, four-point antler in my collection.

Here are some things we know about the antler:

  • We're pretty sure it's off a red deer, because we've only seen roe and red deer in this wood, and roe deer antlers are much more knobbly with little lumps on.

  • It looks like there was another branch at the bottom has been broken off, because it feels a little bit rougher. That's what makes it unusual, because normally deer antlers just split into two branches

  • It is about 30cm long

  • It looks like it fell off by itself. Deer antlers are very strong, and don't get knocked off the skull easily. A couple of nights ago we were on a walk and at the end we were trying to pull up the skull of a eight-point red deer which was partly buried. Daddy was pulling with all his weight to try to pull it out, and the antler didn't break off the skull.

  • Red deer antlers fall off by themselves about March or April, and grow back from April.

  • But it doesn't look like a fully grown antler - it's too small

Here's how the new antler on the left looks next to the 'proper' four-pointer antler on the right. It's got a much smaller base.

Perhaps what happened is this was a young red deer, and the antler didn't grow into the proper shape. Do you know why it was this shape ? Tell me if you do.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Jake - I'm very impressed with your blog!

Darren Naish over at tetrapod zoology has a good blog about deer antlers that may help work out why this antler is so odd. My guess would be that the velvet was damaged or not very well supplied with blood, or the deer was malnourished or injured. Such factors can play a big part in changing the shape of an antler.

Jake said...

Thank you very much ! I think that's might have happened too. It's a cool antler, though.

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