Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Willow has a fawn

Willow, our roe doe gave birth last Friday to a fawn. Usually roe deer have twins, but we have only seen her with one over the weekend. This is not much of a worry as it is possible for them to have just the one, and maybe due to her being so young and it being her first litter, it may of affected litter size.

She is a very good mother, and tucks her baby away in the grass to hide it when she goes off to feed herself. I have been through the enclosure looking to see if she had twins, and didn't even see the one she has had!

She does however check on her several times a day, and is comfortable enough to feed her in front of the public and cameras... she even stole the limelight of keeper Izzy's otter talk Sunday afternoon by deciding to feed her then, and directly opposite the talk : )

Roe deer are quite different from other types of deer. They are a solitary breed, and rut at the end of the Summer, earlier than Reds and Fallow, but due to a delayed implantation still won't give birth till the following Spring. Casting their antlers before Winter, they have to grow their new set while there is not much food around.

You can see from the above pictures, when they are born they have a light dappling across their flanks. This is to help them camouflage away in the long grass.

If you ever do see a young abandoned roe fawn on your travels, please DO NOT disturb it or pick it up... It is probably fine, and its mother is just away feeding or watching you and waiting for you to go so she can return to it. If you do disturb it or touch it, the mother may well then abandon it as it will have a human scent on it which she does not recognise.

Thanks to Peter Hedger, regular photographer and friend to the Centre, for these photos. Check out his flickr stream for more images of our animals.

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