There are six types of deer that live in the wild in the UK. They are roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, sika deer, muntjac deer and Chinese water deer. The two types that live around my village are red and roe deer, and these are the only two types of deer that have always lived in Britain.
When I first started going on walks, I thought it was a bit difficult to tell which was red and roe deer, but once you know how to tell the difference, it gets really easy. This is how to tell them apart.
The pictures are all of deer that live in woods near my village and I've watched. The roe deer are in the first picture, and the red deer are in the second picture.
• The size of their antlers
This is an easy way to tell the male deer apart.
Deer are the only animals that have antlers. Female deer don't have antlers, apart from reindeer. Antlers fall off every year and grow again.
Roe deer have antlers which are about 30cm at most, and which go straight up with three points in each one. The bottom bits are all knobbly. I wrote about how roe deer antlers grow here.
Red deer stag antlers are always much bigger, and they have different numbers of points. Yesterday, dad saw two stags in the same wood, and one had just one point antlers (it was about two or three years old), and the other had twelve points ! (that's the one in the picture). Normally, the stronger and fitter the stag, the bigger the antlers it has. The biggest red deer antler I have is seven points.
Red deer stags have a shaggy mane like a lion. Roe deer don't.
• When the antlers grow
Roe antlers fall off in November and grow again in December, January, February and March.
Red deer antlers fall off about in March, and grow again in April, May and June.
When antlers grow, they have a furry cover on them called velvet, which brings blood to the antler to help it grow. You can see the velvet in the pictures.
• Red deer are much bigger
Red deer are the biggest land mammal in Britain, and they are the biggest type of deer. Red deer bones are massive.
Roe deer are
• The shape of their heads
Roe deer have a small head and a small snout. They look cute and a bit like a big teddy bear.
Red deer heads are longer, and look more like a horse.
• Their skulls
Roe deer skulls are always smaller than red deer skulls. Even a baby red deer skull is bigger than an adult roe deer skull.
An adult roe deer skull is about 20cm long. An adult red deer skull is about 35cm long.
Both roe and red deer have three premolars and three molars on each jaw. Deer only have bottom incisors, and they have eight of them. Adult red deer skulls have top canine teeth, but they are very small.
• Their bottoms and tails
This is the easy way to tell roe and red deer apart.
Roe deer have a small white bottom, and female roe deer have fluffy tufts on there as well.
Red deer have a much bigger patch and it is creamy yellow. Red deer have small tails as well that hang over the patch.
• A funny smile !
This is the weirdest thing that not many books say about.
Roe deer have white patches above and below the mouth that look like a big white smile. Red deer don't have this.
The pictures show how the roe deer look much cuter too !
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