Red Deer Facts | Scotland Wildlife Guide
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICSImpressive in size and stature, red deer are the fourth-largest deer species, following moose, elk and sambar. In Scotland, male stags can weigh up to 500 pounds and span 6.5 feet from nose to tail. Their antlers, which grow in the spring and shed at winter's end, can measure more than 3 feet in length, with fourth and fifth tines often forming a "crown." Red deers' coats are reddish-brown and their rumps are cream-colored. European folklore is filled with tales of powerful white stags—these enchanting creatures are actually white-colored red deer with leucism, a condition that causes their coat to lose its natural pigment.
HABITATRed deer are found in coniferous woodlands, heathlands and open moorlands in Scotland.
FEEDING HABITSThese ruminants have a four-chambered stomach. They browse on grasses, sedges, rushes and young trees. During the winter, they move from higher altitudes to sheltered lower ground and rely on dwarf shrubs such as blueberry and heather.
BREEDINGEach autumn, stags lock antlers to compete for females and bellow to proclaim their territory. The mating season, known as "the rut," lasts from September to November. Females give birth to calves from mid-May to June. The calves are weaned at 8 months, by which time they have molted out of their spotted natal coat.
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