The red deer is the largest land mammal in the UK. One of the iconic images of Scotland, it is immortalised in Landseer’s famous painting, the Monarch of the Glen. Red deer are resident in pockets throughout the UK but their population is most concentrated in the woodlands, moors and hills of Scotland. We have regular sightings around Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre.
The stag is most recognisable, with large branching antlers - which can be as long as 45cm. Both the male and the female red deer have reddish brown coats in the summer, which turn to grey in the winter.
The mating season, or the rut, takes place from mid-September into October and the fights between competing males, when they lock antlers, are ferocious. The females give birth, after a winter pregnancy, in May or June.
Red deer Facts:
• A stag’s antlers grow throughout the spring and are shed every winter
• Native predators of the red deer are all now extinct in Great Britain and included wolves, bears and lynx
• Red deer are herbivores, eating grasses, shrubs and tree shoots – much to the annoyance of many farmers
• Red deer have been in Scotland for over 11,000 years