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522 illustration

Red deer

Cervus elaphus

The male (stag) is larger than the female (hind) at around 120 centimetres tall and up to 240 kilograms. The deer are reddish brown during the summer and greyish brown in winter. The rump patch is yellowish. The stag grows an impressive set of antlers that can weigh up to 15 kilograms. The antlers are shed each season and grow back larger than before. The shape and size of the antlers depend on the age and health of the stag and greatly determine the stag’s status and rank in the herd.

The red deer inhabits deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests up to the tree line, as well as parkland, upland moors and river valleys throughout Europe and some Mediterranean islands. It has also been introduced into South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The red deer runs and jumps well. Hinds live in groups with their calves. Stags compete both violently and non-violently with their rivals during the mating season (September to October). Mainly herbivorous, the red deer also feeds on leaves, tree shoots, bark and fruit.

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