Fallow Deer

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General information

The Fallow Deer is a medium-sized deer with four main variations of colour, ranging from melanistic (black with no white pigmentation), common (chestnut), menil (a paler chestnut) and white. The most commonly seen is chestnut with a black M shape on their rear and white spots. These spots are more pronounced in the summer coat. The male is a buck, the female a doe and the young a fawn, which is born in late spring after a gestation period of 229 days. Outside of breeding season, bucks will live in bachelor herds of 5 to 10 individuals, whereas doe’s and their fawns will live in herds of 10 to 50 individuals.

These large herds of deer are often spotted around the New Forest. They have a rather complicated history in the UK but it has been believed for many years that the Normans introduced them into the UK for hunting in the royal forests. Fallow Deer are now widespread throughout the UK and Europe.

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Latin name - Dama dama

Class - Mammalia

Order - Cetartiodactyla

Family - Cervidae

IUCN Status - Least concern

Habitat - Grasslands and mixed woodland

Distribution - Native to west Eurasia but introduced widely elsewhere

Average Lifespan

8 to 10 years in the wild. 10 to 15 years in captivity.


Car collisions and habitat loss.

Fun Fact

A Fallow Buck’s antlers are called palmate or spoon antlers as they have a large flat area like a palm or spoon.

Our Residents

In the Deer Encounter there are seven friendly, wild rescue fallow deer, which are all does. 

Fleur, who arrived in 2017 - light coloured (menel) after being involved in a road traffic accident near Hythe, who needed care and a permanent home. Peach, a light coloured (menil) & Spirit, a dark coloured (melanistic), both wild rescues from Derbyshire, who joined us from our sister centre in 2018. Shadow, Solstice & Eclipse are the cheeky three, rescued in 2019 and all look very similar! Finally our latest rescue Solar who joined us in December 2021 and Aurora our 2021 fawn.

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