Fallow Deer Dama dama, which is characteristic of large mature woodland is the only British deer exhibiting palmate antlers and is intermediate between Red Cervus elaphus and Roe Capreolus capreolus deer in size.  It is estimated that there are c. 100,000 Fallow Deer in Great Britain, the vast majority of which are in England. Within this population there is conspicuous variation in coat colour, with four main varieties:

Common; Reddish fawn with white spots along its flanks and back during the summer, turning dull brown to grey (with no distinct spots) in winter.

Menil; Spots are more distinct than common in summer and no black is seen around the rump patch or on the tail. In winter, spots are still clear on a darker brown coat.

Melanistic (black); The coat is black shading to greyish brown throughout the year. No light-coloured tail patch or spots are seen.

A ‘common’ Fallow Deer, showing palmate antlers which are unique to this species in the UK

Leucistic (white); Fawns are cream-coloured; adults become pure white. Dark eyes and nose are seen, with no spots.

Long-Haired Fallow Deer

The long-haired variety of Fallow Deer is known only from one location; the Mortimer Forest in Shropshire, England where it was first noted in the 1950’s.  This population have body hairs which are often curly and more than twice the usual length (and often longer). It also has hairs on the tail, inside the ears and on the forehead. Its hair grows faster and over a longer period, but the characteristic declines with age.

There are thought to be only around 80 of these animals in the world, which is likely the result of a gene mutation